To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the amount of money that is not repaid as a result of benefits sent to people who have subsequently died; and what steps he is taking to reform the system. 
[holding answer 15 September 2003]: As part of our modernisation programme, measures are underway to provide greater focus and specialisation in benefit debt management through the establishment of dedicated benefit debt centres. We are already seeing improvements in increased debt recovery and reduction in outstanding debt.At 31 March 2003, the total outstanding overpaid benefit paid for a period following the death of a benefit recipient was estimated to be £7.73 million. We normally
seek to recover this type of overpayment, but where recovery is not possible, the overpayment is written off.
Department for Work and Pensions Debt Management System