§ Baroness Jeger
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will disregard awards made under the Criminal Injuries Act to applicants for supplementary benefit when calculating their capital resources.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Baroness Trumpington)
Payments made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme are treated for supplementary benefit purposes in the same way as any other payment of compensation for personal or criminal injury. They can be disregarded for up to two years, or even longer where it is considered reasonable to do so, if the money is put into a trust fund. They are then subject to the normal capital rules: benefit is not payable if a person has more than £3,000 capital.
We have no immediate plans to change this, but we are proposing changes in the income support scheme, which replaces supplementary benefit from April 1988, which would be beneficial to anyone receiving compensation for criminal injury. The two-year disregard of money put into a trust fund will be allowed automatically. In addition, the capital limit will be doubled from £3,000 to £6,000, but an income of £1 a week will be assumed for each band of £250 between £3,000 and £6,000. There must, however, be a limit to the value of capital that can be disregarded in an income-related benefit scheme, and we consider that these proposals strike a reasonable balance between the aims of a scheme that provides compensation from public funds and an income replacement scheme.