Commencement of Payment of Family Credit

Orders of the Day — Social Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:56 pm on 14th March 1988.

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Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 44, line 14, leave out "(6) of the Social Security Act 1986"
and insert of the Social Security Act 1986—

  1. (a) the following subsection shall be inserted after subsection (5)—
    • "5A) In subsection (5) above "the applicable amount" means the applicable amount at such date as may be prescribed,"; and
  2. (b) in subsection (6)"

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I must inform the House that this amendment involves privilege.

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate

Clause 3 amends the 1986 Act to delete the requirement for family credit awards to start always from the week in which the claim is made, and instead leaves regulations to prescribe the date from which payment shall begin. This further provision to be added to clause 3 is to cover situations where payment is to begin from a date different from the date of claim and will allow cases to be assessed on the benefit rates applicable at the time the benefit is to commence. This will usually be to the claimant's advantage. This will be beneficial to claimants in enabling account to be taken of any increase in the relevant benefit rates during the intervening period—for example, if a child has a birthday and moves into a higher age band or if there is a general uprating.

Claimants can make applications for family credit four weeks in advance—indeed, they are encouraged to apply early when renewing — and we would not wish to penalise those early claimants, for renewal.

Photo of Ms Audrey Wise Ms Audrey Wise , Preston

I notice that the Minister said: This will usually be to the claimant's advantage. Are there circumstances in which it would not be to the benefit of the claimant?

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate

If the claimant uses the other flexibility, to apply late — within two weeks after the renewal date — the benefit rates that will be applied will be the rates that apply from the time that the claim should begin, not the time when the claim is made if the claim is made late. If an uprating occurs in the period between the due date and the date on which the claim is made, the benefit rates would be the rates at the date at which entitlement begins and not the date on which the claim was made.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]