Backdating child benefit
I shall not support the amendments and shall support the Government, but I want to discuss issues relating to industrial injuries disablement benefit, because neither the amendments nor the new clause address that issue. We have to go far beyond the concept of backdating for one, two or three months or even a year; we need to look fundamentally at the way we address the issue, because industrial injuries disablement benefit raises special problems.
Sometimes symptoms can develop late—long after illness has started and long after exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos has occurred.
If the system gets money to people on time, we do not need clause 72 or new clause 2, but the Government know, and we know, that people will continue to get their money late through no fault of their own, and clause 72 restricts their right to receive it.
New clause 2 simply says that people should have up to 12 months backdated benefit if, for a good reason, they delay a claim.
The measure penalises bereaved people and those who do not understand the system.Refugees may be allowed, where the Secretary of State thinks it appropriate to claim backdated awards of Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to the date of the asylum application. Claims for Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Maternity Allowance may be allowed to be backdated if employers delay in notifying the claimants that they had no entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay. Further exceptions may be allowed in such cases or circumstances as may be prescribed. From April 1997, the Conservatives introduced a cut.