§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he intends to introduce regulations to extend the period for which residential allowance may remain in payment to people who are absent from residential care and nursing homes; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Burt
On 2 April we announced that the rules affecting payment of residential allowance (RA) would be changed to extend the period for which the allowance may340W remain in payment to such people from six days to six weeks, where the person enters hospital, and three weeks for other absences.
The regulations, introducing this change are being laid today.
The main provisions are:The amending regulations will apply to people who may already have been absent for more than six days and for whom RA has already stopped. For such people RA will be reinstated from the date the amendment comes into force and will continue in payment for a period up to six or three weeks (as appropriate) from that date. The necessary procedure are already in hand to identify such cases.A resident may be absent for up to six weeks in hospital and/or up to three weeks elsewhere (eg six weeks in hospital and three weeks with relatives) before returning to the home. Different periods in hospital separated by 28 days or less will be treated as being one continuous period.The new provisions will apply to permanent residents who have left the home temporarily.