§ Mr. Richard Shepherd
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is now in a position to issue guidance to local authorities on the identification of housing benefit claimants with potential entitlement to supplementary benefit or housing benefit supplement.
§ Mr. Rossi
The guidance was issued today, reference HB(83)3. It advised local authorities to issue invitations to claim to pensioners whose income as assessed for housing benefit is equal to their housing benefit needs allowance plus £6, provided they are not in full time work and do not appear to have capital of more than £2,500.476W
This guidance is based on the preliminary results of a research project undertaken in two local authorities. The results suggested that using this formula local authorities should be able to identify almost all of their pensioner claimants who would be entitled to housing benefit supplement or supplementary benefit.
The research data indicated that only about 25 per cent. of non-pensioner claimants identified by the formula would have been eligible for benefit. Further work is therefore being undertaken to devise an alternative formula for local authorities to use in non-pensioner cases.
The report on the research project will be available at the end of April.