HC Deb 10 February 1986 vol 91 cc365-6W
Mr. Frank Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the grounds upon which recovery of an overpayment of supplementary benefit may be waived.

Mr. Major

As a general rule, steps are not taken to recover an over-provision of supplementary benefit which is wholly due to official error, but otherwise full recovery is sought. Generally the right to recover overpayments is decided by the independent adjudicating authorities. When determining the extent and method of repayment, the individual circumstances of the person required to repay are taken into account by the Secretary of State. Careful consideration is given to various factors, such as the person's age, health, domestic and financial circumstances. Where repayment would cause undue hardship or could not be cost-effectively pursued, recovery may very exceptionaly be waived.

Mr. Gordon Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what were the numbers in receipt of supplementary benefit for each category in the social security offices serving the York constituency for May 1979, June 1983 and the most recent month for which figures are available.

Mr. Major

The York constituency is covered for social security purposes by the Department's office at York, although its boundaries are not conterminous with the constituency.

The table shows the number of people receiving supplementary benefit from that office for each category at May 1979, May 1983—the nearest figures available, and December 1985—the latest figures available.

May 1979 May 1983 December 1985
Non-unemployed persons under pension age 2,259 2,763 3,796
Unemployed persons 1,488 4,426 5,992
Persons over pension age 6,289 6,043 5,524

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases in action.