§ Mr. Foulkes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if from April 1988, under regulation 18(1) as calculated under regulation 16 and schedule 2 to the draft 882W housing benefit regulations, housing benefit will be withdrawn from pensioners who are hospital in-patients for a period exceeding six weeks.
§ Mr. Portillo
The amount of housing benefit which a pensioner receives after he has been in hospital for more than six weeks will continue to depend on his income and the amount of eligible rent or rates he has to pay. For example, a pensioner who continues to receive income support will continue to receive maximum help with both rent and rates. Pensioners not on income support will be reassessed for housing benefit using a reduced applicable amount after six weeks in hospital, as part of the alignment of social security benefit rules. However, this will not necessarily mean housing benefit is reduced or withdrawn, and any downrating of other social security benefits they may be receiving will also be taken into account. Housing benefit could be withdrawn if the local authority decides in accordance with regulation 5(8) that the claimant does not intend to return home, or if that part of the dwelling which he normally occupies has been let or sub-let during his absence.