HC Deb 06 March 2000 vol 345 cc514-5W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update his estimates based on the Family Resources Survey 1996–97 of(a) median pensioner incomes, excluding means-tested benefits, by age, sex and marital status, consistent with his answer of 18 January 1999, Official Report, column 372W and (b) the size of each group. [113283]

Mr. Rooker

I refer my right hon. Friend to the written answer I gave to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 8 February 2000,Official Report, columns 128–30W.

Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when action will be taken to ensure that all pensioners entitled to income support receive it; and what administrative obstacles exist to backdating the resulting awards of benefit to (a) April 1999 and (b) the date when eligibility commenced. [113128]

Mr. Bayley

An announcement of our plans to encourage pensioners to take-up their entitlement to the Minimum Income Guarantee will be made shortly.

There are no administrative obstacles to backdating awards of benefit to April 1999. However, the prescribed time limit for claiming Income Support would prevent any claim made today being backdated to that date. That time limit, even with an extension for special circumstances, could result in payment for no more than three months prior to the date of claim.

Anyone who claims Income Support can be considered for entitlement from the date of his or her claim. Generally this will be the first date that they contact the department to let the Secretary of State know of their intention to claim, provided that they then complete the appropriate claim form and provide the necessary evidence within one month of that first contact. If the customer is in receipt of Retirement Pension, Income Support will be paid on the same day as that Retirement Pension. In such circumstances entitlement to Income Support will begin on the first such payday, which may be later than the date of claim.