To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to encourage persons on incapacity benefit to maximise their overall benefits (a) after 28 weeks, when incapacity benefit is increased to the short-term higher rate and (b) after 52 weeks, when a claimant becomes entitled to a disability premium on income support. 
The Department administers benefits in accordance with the law.Procedures are in place to help ensure that people in receipt of Incapacity Benefit (IB) do not miss out on the support they are entitled to. People with special care needs, or because other special rules apply, may qualify for both the long-term rate of IB and the Income Support Disability Premium after 28 weeks instead of 52. People are contacted in advance of their 28th week of incapacity to check whether they have any such entitlement.Where Income Support is disallowed at the start of an IB claim, but a person would potentially be entitled after 52 weeks because they satisfy the conditions of the Disability Premium, a letter is issued advising them to make a claim shortly before the end of the qualifying period.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of those claiming long-term incapacity benefit (a) also claim home support and (b) are estimated also to be entitled to income support; (2) what percentage of those claiming short-term lower rate and incapacity benefit
(a) also claim income support and (b) are estimated also to be entitled to income support. 
The available information is in the table. Numbers claiming both Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Income Support (IS) at November 2002, broken down by rate.
|Numbers claiming both Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Income Support (IS) at November 2002, broken down by rate|
|People claiming IB||People claiming IB who are also in receipt if IS||Proportion of people claiming IB who are also in receipt of IS (Percentage)|
|IB Short Term Lower rate||91,300||28,200||30.9|
|IB Short Term Higher rate||89,300||14,400||16.1|
|IB Long Term rate||1,334,900||272,700||20.4|
|IB credits only||868,700||741,800||85.4|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are subject to a degree of sampling variation
2. No estimate is available of the number of people claiming Incapacity Benefit who would also be eligible for Income Support
Figures are based on 5 per cent samples of the Incapacity Benefit and Income Support computer systems and exclude a small number of cases held clerically.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of those claiming short-term higher rate incapacity benefit are receiving free prescriptions because they have completed an HC1 form; and what steps the Government are taking to inform people about the availability of free prescriptions in those circumstances; (2) how many people are not entitled to free prescriptions because they are receiving long-term incapacity benefit plus the age addition for 35 to 44 year olds. 
The information is not available.Information about the arrangements for providing help with NHS prescription charges and other health costs is provided in leaflet HC11 "Are you entitled to help with health costs?", which is available from main post offices, Jobcentres, social security offices, NHS hospitals and elsewhere. This leaflet and further information about help with health costs is also available through the Department of Health's website at: www.doh.gov.uk/nhscharges/index.htm.