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Pension Credit

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what easements of pension credit procedures there were within the Pensions Service in each year from April 2001 to April 2007; and if he will make a statement. (138125)

Pension credit was introduced in October 2003. A number of revisions to standard operating processes were introduced between October 2003 and March 2004 to ensure applications were dealt with effectively during the initial take on period. These revisions covered the following areas:

means of verifying the uprating of second pensions;

treatment of unanswered questions on the claim form;

acceptance of photocopies of certain documents;

acceptance of claim forms signed in the wrong place;

evidence required for the backdating of a claim;

a reduction in the amount of visiting to support programme protection, allowing Local Service to concentrate on pension credit take-up and alleviating pensioner poverty;

reductions in checking. Our experience of the reduced levels of checking during this period subsequently led to the removal of seven checks and a reduction in the checking level of another six.

These revisions ended with effect from April 2004 and Pension Centres returned to standard operating procedures.