§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proposals he has for extending the pre-qualification period for disability premium before the commencement of payment; what will be the consequential estimated change in payment to a married couple; if he will list the passported benefits, the waiting period for which would also alter consequential upon any alteration in the waiting period for first payment of disability premium and their weekly value to a married couple; and what will be the estimated changes in Government expenditure under this heading in a full year.
§ Mr. Burt
The disability premium provides extra help in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit for the long-term sick and the disabled. The amount of the disability premium for a married couple is currently £26.45 a week, increasing to £27.80 a week from 11 April 1994.
For those claiming these benefits as long-term sick the rules for the disability premium will be changed from April 1995 to reflect the incapacity benefit changes announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 1 December. The highest rate of the new incapacity benefit will act as a passport to the disability premium. Severe isablement allowance will continue to bring entitlement to the disability premium. For those who have no other means of entitlement to the disability premium, the period of incapacity needed to qualify will increase from 28 to 52 weeks and the new definition of work and assessment of incapacity will apply.
Disability living allowance, attendance allowance and mobility supplement are other passporting benefits to the disability premium, which can also be awarded on other grounds—for instance, if the person is registered blind. These routes to the disability premium will not be affected by the incapacity benefit changes.
The estimate of the consequences of the incapacity benefit changes on income-related benefit expenditure for sick and disabled people is not available at present. I will write to the Hon. Gentleman with this information as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the relationship between invalidity benefit rulings and disabled living allowance.