§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what effect, in pence per week, payment of the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension to a disabled married woman will have on the total income of a family with a disabled husband in receipt of (a) supplementary benefits at the ordinary rate, (b)supplementary benefits at the long-term rate, (c) non-contributory invalidity pension and supplementary benefits at the ordinary rate, (d) non-contributory invalidity pension and supplementary benefits at the long-term rate, (e) noncontributory invalidity pension and (f) contributory invalidity pension;
(2) what effect, in pence per week, payment of the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension to a disabled married 287W woman will have on the total income of a family with a non-disabled husband in receipt of (a) sickness benefit, (b) unemployment benefit, (c) supplementary benefits at the ordinary rate, (d) supplementary benefits at the long-term rate, (e) supplementary benefits and invalid care allowance and (f) an invalid care allowance.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris:
As regards contributory and other non-means-tested benefits, the general principle is that if a wife satisfies the conditions for benefit both by virtue of her own circumstances and as her husband's dependant she may not draw both benefits but qualifies for the most advantageous to her of the two. In most circumstances, unless contributory invalidity pension is in payment to the husband, housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension is at a higher level than the benefit which would otherwise be payable in respect of a married woman. Therefore, some increase in family income will follow.
One of our aims in introducing noncontributory invalidity pension was to try to reduce reliance on means-tested benefits, such as supplementary benefit, for people not in employment this can only be done by providing a source of income which is not itself dependent on a means test, but which is nevertheless taken into account in assessing entitlement to supplementary benefit. Whether a family continues to be entitled to supplementary benefit, as with the overall family income, will depend on other circumstances, such as the amount of any rent, other income or capital, in the way laid down in legislation approved by Parliament.
§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claims for the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension have been received from disabled married women; and how many disabled married women he expects will be receiving this new benefit on 17th November, the day on which payment starts.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris:
Up to 1st November 1977, 42,000 claims had been received for the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension (HNCIP). As my hon. Friend knows, from his detailed discussions with my Department before we 288W introduced HNCIP, the benefit of £10.50 a week will become payable to disabled married women under 60 who are incapable both of their normal household duties and of work from 17th November. Payment orders may be cashed from 23rd November. We expect about 15,000 awards to have been made by 17th November, but some 3,000 beneficiaries may not have received order books by 23rd November. In addition, we are now dealing with a substantial number of claims. In these cases also, I regret that it will be impossible to provide an order book by 23rd November, should an award be made. I must emphasise that benefit will, of course, be awarded from 17th November for everyone who qualifies from that date. The delays are caused by a somewhat shorter take-on period than we originally planned; the timing and volume of claims; and the need in most cases to arrange a medical examination and report.
The Pensioners Payment Bill, currently before Parliament, provides that the £10 Christmas bonus will be paid in addition to HNCIP for married women, for the week of 5th December, if not paid with some other benefit, such as attendance allowance. This may involve extra delay in the issue of new order books, but I hope that the majority of order books, special payments and arrears can be cleared by mid-January.