HC Deb 02 July 1991 vol 194 cc121-2W
Mr. Hill

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the financial amount deducted from pensioners in hospital longer than six weeks, for the last year for which figures are available; and what steps he is prepared to take to review this policy.

Miss Widdecombe

Most social security benefits, including retirement pensions and invalidity pensions, are reduced after the beneficiary has been in hospital for more than six weeks. The current reductions are £10.40 a week for those with dependants and £20.80 a week for those without dependants. A further reduction is made after the beneficiary has been in hospital for more than 52 weeks. At that stage, the benefit of those with dependants is reduced by a further £10.40, making £20.80 in all, and the benefit of those without dependants is reduced to the personal requirements rate of £10.40.

These provisions are based on the view that state funds should not make double provision for the same needs. As the national health service provides free maintenance as well as free treatment, maintenance benefits, also paid out of state funds, should not be paid in full indefinitely.

The policy on benefits paid to hospital in-patients was reviewed in 1987 as part of the social security review and we have no current plans to conduct a further review.

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