HC Deb 04 April 1989 vol 150 cc171-2W
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits a person who suffers kidney failure and is forced to give up work will currently receive; what level of benefits applied to a person in a similar situation before April 1988; what special allowances existed for items, including food, heating, laundry and baths for such people before April 1988; and what equivalent benefits are now available.

Mr. Scott

People who become incapable of work due to kidney failure whose contract of service with their employer continues would usually be entitled to statutory sick pay from the fourth consecutive day of incapacity. Where the employment terminates, the person is self-employed, or statutory sick pay is not payable for any reason, sickness benefit would be payable instead, provided that the usual contribution conditions were satisfied. After 28 weeks of incapacity, invalidity benefit replaces sickness benefit automatically. It would also replace statutory sick pay in cases where the contribution conditions for sickness benefit would have been satisfied at the beginning of the incapacity. In addition to these benefits, people suffering with renal failure who require help dialysing for at least two occasions a week, either at home, as an in-patient in a private hospital or in a self-care unit may qualify for lower rate attendance allowance. There has been no change in the level of any of these benefits since April 1988 other than the usual uprating.

Depending on their circumstances people with renal failure may also receive income support, which replaced supplementary benefit in April 1988. The level of supplementary benefit paid reflected the individual's circumstances such as size of family, if any, housing costs, special needs, and other income. There was no fixed level of benefit for any claimant. The only special allowance particular to people with renal failure was a dietary addition. All other special allowances, for example, for heating, laundry and baths were available to all claimants on the same terms. The system of special allowances has been replaced by one of flat rate premiums. The disability premium is available to people receiving attendance allowance, mobility allowance or supplement, invalidity benefit or severe disablement benefit. It is also available to people with an invalid carriage, those registered blind and those incapable of work for 28 weeks or more. In addition attendance allowance recipients who live alone qualify for the severe disability premium, providing no-one is receiving invalid care allowance for their care.