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Pension Credit: Scotland

Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to encourage the take up of pension credit in Edinburgh. (119169)

The Pension Service is undertaking a wide range of steps to encourage eligible pensioners to claim pension credit.

The Pension Service Local Service offers face-to-face visits to the most eligible and vulnerable pensioners during which full benefit entitlement checks are carried out. One million home visits will be carried out during 2006-07.

30,834 effective visits were completed within the Edinburgh and West Lothian cluster from April 2006 to December 2006, resulting in 825 pension credit applications. Of those, 446 awards were made between April 2006 and September 2006.

We are writing to everyone who we believe may have an entitlement to pension credit, encouraging them to apply. Over two million mailings are planned through 2006-07.

We are broadening the appeal of pension credit by focusing our contacts with pensioners much more on their needs as a whole. The Pension Service Local Service is continuing to work very closely with local partners (including local authorities and voluntary organisations such as Help the Aged and Age Concern) to maximise take up of pension credit. We are widening the scope of partnership activity and expanding our current work programme with key utilities and other major companies whose customers include likely eligible non-recipients to pension credit. These activities are being supported by national press advertising to maintain the high profile of pension credit. Local marketing and media campaigns will be targeted in those regions and areas where there are relatively high numbers of eligible non-recipients.

In addition, we are improving our service and encouraging take up 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 if appropriate.