§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what criteria were used to determine the different rates of income support for a pensioner disabled before the age of 60 and a pensioner disabled after the age of 60.
§ Mr. Scott
A person disabled before the age of 60 gets the disability premium of £13.05 (single) or £18.60 (couple) if he or his partner is blind, has an invalid carriage, is receiving a long-term incapacity or disablement benefit, or has been incapable of work for 28 weeks.
A person disabled after the age of 60 may qualify for the higher pensioner premium. This is paid at the same rate and on the same terms as the disability premium except that the 28-week rule of incapacity for work does not apply to people aged 60 or more. A person who qualifies for the disability premium immediately before reaching the age of 60 will get the higher pensioner premium on reaching that age. The difference in the qualifying conditions reflects the 90W fact that some degree of disability is likely to occur as people get older. This is catered for in the pension premiums of £10.65 (single) and £16.25 (couple).
The severe disability premium is payable to people under and over the age of 60 on exactly the same conditions.
The details of this premium structure will be looked at in the light of the OPCS survey on disabilities.