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Pensions/Benefit Payments

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list telephone services operated by his Department in order to provide advice and services relating to changes in the method of paying pensions and benefits; and if he will place in the Library copies of the scripts used by the people answering the telephones. [107598]

The Department has a range of telephone services to support the move to Direct Payment as the normal method of paying benefits and pensions.A Direct Payment Information Line, for those customers who require further detail about the changes being introduced, is now in operation. The purpose of this telephone service is to give customers the opportunity to consider all of the options available to them and make the best choice for their circumstances.For each of the benefit and pension services, the Department has a dedicated telephone facility to capture customers' choices and record account details. There is a separate, yet similar service, for benefit and pension customers in Northern Ireland.This is supported by our normal business units, who can also provide information about the changes being made.An example of the script used when a customer requires more information about the choices available has been placed in the Library.