HC Deb 24 October 1979 vol 972 cc215-6W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will publish the details of deductions made from statutory retirement pensions when the recipient is undergoing in-patient National Health Service treatment in a National Health Service hospital, the annual total of such deductions and details of similar deductions where the patient is undergoing private treatment in a National Health Service or private hospital;

(2) how much of the total annual reduction in retirement pensions due to hospitalisation relates to the various periods of stays for which such reductions are made.

Mr. Prentice

The general rules for reduction of retirement pensions—and certain other benefits—during periods of free in-patient treatment are(i) after eight weeks in hospital: (a) Patient with a dependant: Benefit reduced by £3.90 a week (£4.65 from November 1979). (b) Patient without a dependant: Benefit reduced by £7.80 a week (£9.30 from November 1979). (ii) after 52 weeks in hospital:

  1. (a) Patient with a dependant: no further reduction where the balance of benefit is paid to the dependant; otherwise the reduction is as in (b).
  2. (b) Patient without a dependant: benefit is further reduced to £3.90 (£4.65) a week. During the second year in hospital the balance of benefit, that is, after deduction of £11.70 (£13.95), accumulates as resettlement benefit.
Special rules apply where, for example, both husband and wife are in hospital or a pensioner with a dependant has been in hospital for two years. Benefits are not reduced if the patient is paying the whole cost of accommodation and services other than medical treatment. The estimated reduction in retirement pension in 1979–80, at average pension rates for 1979–80, for pensioners in hospital is about £75 million. The breakdown is estimated to be: In respect of periods of under 1 year: £10 million. In respect of periods of over I year: £65 million.