§ Mrs. Ray Michie
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement concerning the benefit entitlement of the severely mentally handicapped who have undertaken a community programme placement for therapeutic purposes.
§ Mr. Scott
Anyone receiving an incapacity benefit who performs work for which an employer might reasonably pay shows that he is capable of work and his benefit may be affected. This may apply to severely mentally handicapped people who have undertaken a community programme placement. The decision whether in practice a person is capable of work is for determination by the independent adjudicating authority.
However, a person receiving any incapacity benefit may nevertheless earn up to £27 a week without loss of benefit provided he satisfies the adjudicating authorities that the work is therapeutic, by furnishing medical evidence to that effect.
A severely mentally handicapped person is not entitled to income support if he is working 24 hours or more a 53W week on a community programme. But benefit may be payable if the work averages less than 24 hours a week. The first £5 or £15, as appropriate, of his earnings are disregarded in deciding entitlement.