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Housing Benefit: Arrangements

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 14 March 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the continuous linking period of 26 weeks for extended payments of housing benefit will result in a claimant being disqualified from benefit for (a) one day's sickness; (b) one week's sickness; (c) two weeks' sickness.

Where a person's qualifying benefit comes to an end because of incapacity for work the 26 week qualifying period will he broken. However, from October payment of Jobseeker's Allowance will normally continue for up to two weeks where jobseekers are unable to be available for or actively seek work because they are sick. Consequently, from that date, anyone who satisfies the qualifying conditions for an extended payment of housing and council tax benefit will not be affected by short periods of sickness unless he chooses to claim an incapacity benefit.

asked Her Majesty's Government:When a review of the extended housing benefits scheme is to be carried out; and whether the scheme will be expanded to include people who were previously entitled to (a) a disability premium (except on grounds of incapacity) and (b) incapacity benefit.

Extended payments of housing benefit and council tax benefit, which start on 1st April, are expected to help some 350,000 unemployed people a year to make the move back into work. We shall be monitoring the arrangements carefully before giving any thought to widening the qualifying criteria.