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Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what processes his Department carries out to stop payment of basic state pension on the death of a claimant; and if he will make a statement. (118800)

Upon receipt of a notification of the death of a customer, the information is recorded on the relevant computer system, and payments of state pension are stopped with immediate effect.

Notifications are typically provided by next of kin or close relatives, by telephone or post. Checks are made to establish the identity of the deceased customer, and when notification is received by phone, verification of customer's identity is obtained through a series of security questions.

The Office for National Statistics provides us with a weekly summary of notifications of death made direct to the DWP from registrars.

From the autumn of 2007, notifications of death will be received on a daily basis from the Office for National Statistics, as opposed to the current weekly basis. This will assist in enabling a prompt cessation of payment following death.