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Social Security Benefits

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that all eligible individuals are aware of their entitlements to benefit payments. (139815)

This Department does all it can to ensure that people are aware of all the benefits to which they are entitled and how to claim them. Leaflets are available at benefits offices, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, and from welfare rights organisations and other advice giving agencies. Information is also available on the Department’s website.

We are also taking steps to improve awareness and take-up of benefits for specific groups. For example, pensioners applying for pension credit can now access housing benefit and council tax benefit over the phone at the same time.

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 credit take-up campaign has also helped many older carers to benefit from the Government’s abolition of the upper age limit on claims to carer’s allowance.

Information and advice about disability living allowance and attendance allowance is provided by the Department’s freephone helpline. The Department also undertakes a considerable amount of local outreach work, and works with partners such as social services and welfare rights organisations who are well placed to identify people who may be entitled to disability benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount of time was between receipt of a claim for (a) disability living allowance, (b) income support, (c) carer's allowance, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) incapacity benefit and payment of benefit for claims made by (i) telephone, (ii) post and (iii) online claim form in (A) the UK, (B) England, (C) Scotland, (D) Wales, (E) each English region and (F) each parliamentary constituency in each of the last 10 months. (140724)