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Social Security Benefits: Elderly

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on disability premiums for (a) pension credit and (b) housing benefit for people over 65 in England in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. (300397)

The disability premium applies only to working age benefits, but disabled pensioners can have an additional amount for severe disability taken into account in their claim for pension credit or housing benefit.

Premiums are additional amounts which are taken into account in the means test for pension credit and housing benefit, but are not paid directly as a discrete amount. They do not necessarily increase benefit entitlement by the full value of the premium, and the impact will depend on the pensioner's income and other circumstances.

However, it is possible to estimate how much pension credit expenditure is due to the severe disability premium by looking at how much less would be spent if the premium was removed, all other things being equal, and these estimates are provided in the following table.

Housing benefit is more complex, as entitlement is usually dependent on the amount and type of pension credit that is in payment. In particular, the use of the premium in a pension credit award can lead to a larger housing benefit entitlement, without the premium being used in the housing benefit assessment. National Statistics on housing benefit do not currently provide the necessary information needed in order to produce an estimate of the expenditure involved.

Estimated additional expenditure on pension credit due to the severe disability premium, for claimants aged 65 and over and living in England

Total expenditure (£ million)






1. Expenditure estimates are consistent with expenditure information published on the internet at

2. The proportion of total pension credit expenditure relating to this group has been estimated using a 5 per cent. sample snapshot of cases in August of each year.

3. For couples, age is defined as the age of the claimant.

4. Additional expenditure on pension credit due to the severe disability premium is defined as the lower of the value of the premium(s) used in the pension credit assessment and the weekly pension credit award.

5. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest £10 million.


DWP Statistical and Accounting Data