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Benefits

House of Lords written question – answered on 3rd May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Willis of Knaresborough Lord Willis of Knaresborough Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government which benefits do not require means-testing; and what is the purpose of each benefit.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The information requested is given below.

Disability living allowance, carer's allowance and attendance allowance

Disability living allowance (DLA) is a cash benefit for children and adults with long-term impairments that contributes towards the extra costs associated with their disability. It is a tax-free, non-contributory benefit which is not income-related and is for recipients to meet any needs as they choose

Attendance allowance (AA) is a cash benefit that adults with long-term disabilities can claim after reaching the age of 65 to contribute towards their extra costs associated with disability. It is paid without any test of income and does not require a national insurance record. AA is based only on an assessment of the care needs of the older people.

Carer's allowance provides a measure of financial support for people who forgo the opportunity of full-time employment in order to provide regular and substantial care of at least 35 hours a week for a severely disabled person. The person being cared for must be receiving a suitable qualifying benefit, usually either attendance allowance or disability living allowance care component at the middle or highest rate. Carer's allowance is not means-tested but it has an earnings limit of £100 a week after deduction of allowable expenses such as income tax and national insurance contributions.

Employment and support allowance

Employment and support allowance is the main income-replacement benefit for people of working age who are unable to work because of an illness or disability. A contribution-based employment and support allowance, which is not means-tested, may be claimed if sufficient national insurance contributions have been paid.

Jobseeker's allowance

Jobseeker's allowance is the main benefit for people of working age who are out of work but available for and actively seeking employment. A contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, which is not means-tested, may be claimed if sufficient national insurance contributions have been paid.

Bereavement benefits

Bereavement payment is a one-off, lump-sum payment of £2,000, which may be paid to the surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased person, based on the deceased's national insurance contributions. The payment helps meet some of the costs associated with losing a spouse or civil partner who was previously earning and so contributing to the household.

Widowed parent's allowance may be paid to the surviving spouse or civil partner if they are receiving child benefit for bringing up a child or young person, depending on the national insurance contributions paid by the deceased person. It is intended to assist families who have lost a main household earner.

Bereavement allowance may be paid for up to 52 weeks to the surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased person if the surviving spouse or civil partner is aged over 45 and is not receiving child benefit for bringing up a child or young person. Eligibility depends on the national insurance contributions paid by the deceased person, and it is intended to enable the surviving spouse or civil partner to make the necessary transition after losing a spouse or civil partner who was previously earning and so contributing to the household.

The industrial injuries scheme

The industrial injuries scheme provides non-contributory no-fault benefits for disablement because of an accident at work, or because of one of over 70 prescribed diseases known to be a risk from certain jobs.

The industrial injuries scheme benefits are:

industrial injuries disablement benefit;constant attendance allowance;exceptionally severe disablement allowance;reduced earnings allowance;retirement allowance;industrial death benefit;unemployability supplement; and benefits payable under the:

workmen's compensation (supplementation) scheme; and pneumoconiosis, byssinosis and miscellaneous benefits scheme.

In addition a lump sum payment may be payable under the Pneumoconiosis, etc 1979 (Workers' Compensation) Act or the 2008 diffuse mesothelioma scheme.

Benefits payable under the industrial injuries scheme are not means-tested but may be taken into account against income-related benefits.

Statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, statutory sick pay, statutory paternity pay, additional statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay

Statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance are paid for up to 39 weeks to help working women who satisfy qualifying conditions based on employment and level of earnings, take time off work at the end of their pregnancy and in the months after childbirth.

Statutory paternity pay helps fathers who satisfy qualifying conditions based on employment and level of earnings take one or two weeks off work after the birth of a child to care for the child.

Additional statutory paternity pay helps fathers who satisfy qualifying conditions based on employment and level of earnings take time off work to look after the child if the mother chooses to go back to work before the expiry of her 39-week maternity pay/allowance period.

Statutory adoption pay is paid for up to 39 weeks to help working adopters who satisfy qualifying conditions based on employment and level of earnings take time off work when a child is placed with them for adoption to help the child and adopter to adjust to their new relationship.

Statutory sick pay provides a statutory minimum payment for a maximum of 28 weeks to employees unable to work because of sickness who meet qualifying conditions based on employment status and level of earnings.

State pension

The state pension provides a financial foundation and valuable source of income to over 12 million pensioners who have contributed to their national insurance record through their working lives.

Winter fuel payments are paid to most people who have reached state pension age for women. They provide assurance to older people that they can keep warm during the colder winter months because they know they will receive significant help with their fuel bills.

Child benefit and guardian's allowance

Child benefit provides a contribution towards the cost of bringing up a child or qualifying young person. It is worth £20.30 a week for the first child and £13.40 for all other children in the household.

Guardian's allowance provides additional support to those who look after a child or qualifying young person whose parents have died or, in specified circumstances, where one parent has died. It is paid at a weekly rate of £14.75.

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