HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc249-50W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will extend the length of time in which released prisoners can apply for Housing Benefit. [148895]

Mr. Pond

I have been asked to reply.

All customers, including those leaving prison, may make a Housing Benefit claim up to 13 weeks in advance. Where there is continuous good cause for delay customers may also apply for their Housing Benefit to be backdated. We have no plans to change these arrangements at present.

Jobcentre Plus currently assist released prisoners by waiving labour market conditions for the first seven days of their claim and by providing pre-arranged work focused interviews through the Freshstart initiative. As many Housing Benefit applications are linked to claims for Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support, this helps to ensure that Housing Benefit claims are made as early as possible.

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