HC Deb 13 March 1980 vol 980 cc677-8W
Mr. Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of children who have been in hospital for over eight weeks; and what percentage of these children's parents have temporarily lost the right to child benefit.

Mrs. Chalker

The information required is not available, but there are some 3,000 children aged under 15 years whose duration of stay in hospitals in England and Wales has been 13 weeks or more.

Child benefit is payable unconditionally for the first 20 weeks where a child lives with a claimant continuously up to entry into hospital. Where the child does not live with the claimant at the time of entry into hospital, benefit is payable unconditionally for the first 12 weeks. Subsequently, benefit is payable as long as regular expenditure is incurred in connection with the child. The Department's records do not indicate that child benefit has been withdrawn from any parent for a child in hospital, but if the hon. Member has a particular case in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.