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Pensions: Fraud

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to prevent the fraudulent use of deceased pensioners’ details; and if he will make a statement. (175061)

DWP has specific processes in place to help ensure that deceased pensioners’ details are not used for fraudulent purposes within the tax and benefit systems.

When a person dies, DWP is notified of the registered death by the Office of National Statistics for deaths in England and Wales, the General Registrar’s Office (Scotland) for deaths in Scotland and the General Registrar’s Office (Northern Ireland) for deaths in Northern Ireland.

When a death is notified, the date of death is recorded on the DWP customer information system (CIS) which in turn notifies the benefit systems in order to end payment of pensions and benefits. Local authorities are also notified for housing benefit and council tax benefit purposes.

CIS will also notify the HMRC national insurance recording system (NIRS) of this date of death for tax purposes.

Once an account held on CIS has a date of death inserted, there are specific checks in place to ensure that all access to deceased accounts for tax and benefit purposes is legitimate. There will often be some legitimate access to a deceased national insurance account held on CIS if for example, the surviving spouse claims pensions based on their late partner’s national insurance contributions.

This process helps protects the tax and benefit system from fraudulent attack using deceased pensioners’ details. Processes are also in place, and will be utilised in the new year, to notify the Identity and Passport Service of deaths in order to prevent fraudulent use of a deceased person’s identity to obtain, or use, a passport in the deceased person’s name.