HC Deb 11 June 1986 vol 99 cc223-5W
Mr. Frank Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will instruct his officers to inform all claimants with long-standing disabilities that they may be eligible for the long term rate of supplementary benefits; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

[pursuant to his reply, 9 June 1986, c. 97]: Supplementary benefit claimants aged 60 and over are automatically entitled to the long-term rate. People under 60 claiming supplementary benefit who are incapable of work because of sickness or disability are entitled to the long-term rate after they have been in receipt of supplementary benefit at the ordinary rate or a long-term incapacity benefit for a year. Officers are already instructed to send a supplementary benefit leaflet

Mr. Hayhoe

[pursuant to his reply, 9 June 1986., c. 96]: Following are the average percentage pay settlements for medical and dental, nursing and midwifery and ancillary staff groups together with movements in the retail prices and average earnings indexes within pay-, round years (1 August to 31 July) from 1977–78 to 1984–85. It would involve a disproportionate cost to assemble the information in the precise form suggested.

and claim form, which explains entitlement to the long-term rate, to claimants of invalidity benefit and severe disablement allowance soon after they first claim and after they have been in receipt of benefit for six months. Officers are also instructed to notify claimants who have been receiving such benefits for a year but are not receiving supplementary benefit that they may be entitled to supplementary benefit at the long-term rate. In addition supplementary benefit claimants who, it is decided, have no further prospect of employment due to physical or mental disablement are entitled to the long-term rate after a year's receipt of benefit. Periods during which they were previously required to sign on quarterly at an unemployment benefit office count towards that year. Such claimants may be identified by staff at the unemployment benefit office when the claimant signs on or at a jobcentre if the claimant is registered for employment, or at a local DHSS office.

Under the restart scheme which is to be introduced nationally by the Department of Employment in July all claimants who have been unemployed for more than 12 months will be interviewed between July 1986 and March 1987. This will provide an additional opportunity to identify supplementary benefit claimants who may be exempted from the requirement to be available for work.