Income Support

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Hunter Mr Andrew Hunter Independent Conservative, Basingstoke

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will enable recipients of income support to put aside some of their benefit to save for the purchase of a Motability vehicle without their savings affecting their entitlement to income support.

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

Income-related benefits are intended to target help on those with the least resources. It is a long established principle that substantial amounts of capital should not be ignored when deciding entitlement to a benefit based on need, and it is for this reason that all savings are counted as capital. Claimants are free to spend their capital as they wish, so it would be inappropriate to have different rules for the treatment of capital based simply on a declaration of its intended use.

However, there will not usually be a need for a person to have significant savings in order to lease or purchase a suitable vehicle through the Motability scheme. Generally, the cost of a suitable vehicle is met through the higher rate mobility component of their disability living allowance or war pensioners' mobility supplement. In some cases, where the cost of the chosen vehicle cannot be met from the weekly benefit payments, an advance payment must be made at the start of the relevant agreement. Motability has funds available to make discretionary payments to help meet the cost of an advance payment where Motability considers the extra cost is necessary to provide a vehicle to meet a person's basic mobility needs.

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