§ Mr. McMaster
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list all additional benefits which are potentially available to allow parents (a) entitled and (b) not entitled to income support to visit children who are detained in hospital (i) in the short term and (ii) in the long term; if he will describe the eligibility criteria for each; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Scott
Those entitled to income support may be able to receive a community care grant or a budgeting loan from the social fund for expenses to visit someone who is in hospital. Payments are discretionary but are normally given high priority. Those not in receipt of income support will normally be better placed to meet these costs because they will have higher levels of income. Even so, a crisis loan from the social fund may be payable if the payment is the only way to prevent serious damage or risk to the health or safety of the applicant. Payments from the social fund can be made in one lump sum or at regular intervals if the visits are to continue for some time.