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Social Security Benefits: Take-up

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in which regions there is low take-up of (a) pension credit, (b) council tax benefit and (c) housing benefit; and what steps are being taken to increase take-up in such regions. (124801)

Estimates of take-up are not available below the level of Great Britain. The latest estimates of the take-up of the main income-related benefits— income support, pension credit, housing benefit- council tax benefit and jobseeker’s allowance (income-based) in Great Britain—can be found in the DWP report entitled “Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005”. Copies of the publication are available in the Library.

We are doing a lot to improve take-up. Pensioners applying for pension credit can now access housing benefit and council tax benefit over the phone at the same time via the Pension Service.

The Pension Service is undertaking a wide range of steps to encourage eligible pensioners to claim pension credit—for example, writing to everyone who may have an entitlement to pension credit, encouraging them to apply.

The Pension Service local service is also continuing to work very closely with local partners (including local authorities as well as voluntary organisations such as Help the Aged and Age Concern) to maximise take up by pensioners of all of their entitlements.