HC Deb 29 March 2001 vol 365 cc727-8W
Mr. Stunell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what range of payments in cash and in kind is available to discharged prisoners by way of (a) grants, (b) loans and (c) specific access to social security payments. [155553]

Mr. Boateng

A discharge grant is payable to most prisoners in order to ensure that the prisoner has sufficient money to meet immediate needs on release. It is not a substitute for social security payments. The current rates are:

25 and older 46.75
18–24 37.00
Higher 94.40

The higher rate is paid only if there is a need to seek, obtain and pay for accommodation. It is only paid to prisoners with no accommodation arranged in advance, if this arises through no fault of the prisoner. Except those being deported or removed under Immigration Act 1988 powers, discharged prisoners receive payment or a travel warrant for their journey home. If they have not received a discharge grant, they may be given an appropriate subsistence allowance for their journey. Prisoners who do not have their own clothing may receive appropriate clothing on release.

Discharged prisoners are generally treated in the same way as any other claimants for social security payments and must satisfy the eligibility criteria for each benefit claimed. The available benefits include Jobseeker' s Allowance (JSA), Income Support, Housing Benefit and crisis loans and community care grants from the Social Fund. Exceptionally, the JSA regulations contain specific provisions for those released from detention. They may be treated as available for work for a period of seven days commencing with the date of their release. They may also be treated as actively seeking employment for the first full week of their JSA claim if they have been treated as available for work for part of that week.

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