HC Deb 25 June 1997 vol 296 c567W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will list the main changes in Social Security law that have affected the entitlement of(a) 16 to 17 year-olds and (b) 17 to 25-year-olds or their parents to benefit in the last five years. [4166]

Mr. Bradley

The main changes in the last five years affecting benefit entitlement for 16 to 17-year-olds and 17 to 25-year-olds were as follows:For 16 to 25-year-olds

In Jobseeker's Allowance, which was introduced in October 1996, there is a common rule which ensures that all unemployed people aged 18 to 24 are treated the same, regardless of their contribution record. A person of this age who is entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, whether contribution-based or income-based, will be paid at a lower rate than that for a person aged 25 years or over.

In Housing Benefit, the main change was the restriction of the amount of rent which can be used to calculate benefit entitlement. It limits the rent to the average cost of non-self-contained accommodation in the locality in which the claimant lives. This chance affects most claimants under 25 living in the private rented sector, and was introduced on 6 October 1996.

For families

From April 1997 (for Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) and October 1997 (Family Credit and Disability Working Allowance), the date from which age-related increases for children aged 11 and 16 are paid has been moved from the birthday itself to the first Monday in September following the birthday. There is no longer an increase in the rate for young dependent people on reaching age 18.

In Family Credit, from July 1996, Family Credit awards terminate when a child leaves full-time education, but only in families where the child is the last remaining child in the family.

In April 1995, rules in Severe Disablement Allowance for claiming adult dependency increases and child dependency increases were aligned with Incapacity Benefit.

Other measures have been introduced in the last five years (for example Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance) which may have affected young people or their parents, but the measures have not been targeted at these groups particularly.

This Government's intention is to modernise the Social Security system so that it supports work, savings and honesty. One of our first steps is to focus on helping people off welfare and into work.

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