HC Deb 20 July 1979 vol 970 cc880-1W
Mr. Robert Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what action resulted from the latest check by his Department of maintenance and affiliation orders to those in receipt of supplementary benefits;

(2) when his Department last checked the maintenance and affiliation orders payable to those in receipt of supplementary benefits and how many orders were involved.

Mrs. Chalker

When supplementary benefit is paid because money due under an existing maintenance or affiliation order is not received, standing instructions to staff require that inquiries are made to ascertain the reason for default. If no acceptable reason is established—for example, that the payee is sick or unemployed—and the default persists, action is taken to seek enforcement of the order.

Staff are also required to review about every 12 months the amount payable on maintenance and affiliation orders to persons in receipt of supplementary benefit. This review is a continuous process related normally to the date on which the court order was made and the date of the claim for benefit in each individual case. If circumstances warrant it, the review leads to action to seek variation of the court order.

No statistical records of the outcome of these actions are kept and I regret that the information requested could be obtained only at unjustifiable cost. The number of orders held by supplementary benefit recipients in November 1977, the latest date for which information is available, was aproximately 151,000.