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Pensioners (Benefit Payments)

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government has taken to encourage pensioners to take up benefits to which they are entitled. (92001)

The Pension Service has written to every pensioner household to tell them about pension credit. A direct mail initiative “You're missing out” was targeted at 1.5 million households identified as highly likely to be eligible for pension credit, as a result of data matching. A further ‘reminder’ postcard was sent to one million households who did not respond. Since 5 December 2005 customers who contact the pension credit application line to make an application for pension credit are also able to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit during the one phone call.

During 2005-06 Local Service visited approximately 23,000 households each week, focusing on those customers who were most likely to be eligible for pension credit and working closely with partners (e.g. Help the Aged, Age Concern) to encourage pensioners to take up their entitlement to pension credit.

In addition, we are currently improving our service by enabling new customers who call to claim their state pension, to also apply for pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit in a single call.