§ Sir Ian Gilmour
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether low-income families who apply for community charge benefit will be assumed to be getting all the family credit to which they are entitled; and whether the families will be informed about any such assumptions.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
The community charge benefit regulations will allow a source of income that would be available to a claimant if he or she were to apply for it to be taken into account as a notional source of income. If a community charge benefit claimant appears to meet all the conditions for family credit but has not yet claimed that benefit, the local authority will advise them to claim it. In assessing the claim for community charge benefit, family credit will not be taken into account for 25 working days, which will allow the family credit claim to be determined. After this period family credit will be assumed to be in payment. In cases where family credit has already been claimed it will not be taken into account until actually received.
The notice of determination issued by the local authority will inform the claimant of any assumptions made about family credit and remind them of their duty to report all changes of circumstances, which include the receipt of family credit.