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Social Security Benefits: Forms

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the maximum number of forms an applicant for each benefit administered by his Department must complete is (a) between initially applying and receipt of benefit and (b) each year thereafter. (177970)

For most people claiming most benefits, only one form is required.

If, however, they claim more than one benefit or their circumstances change then an individual will need to fill more forms. In such cases there is no absolute maximum. The number of forms will depend on a claimant’s circumstances.

The Department and its Agencies administer more than 20 different benefits and local authorities administer other benefits on the Department’s behalf. All these benefits are designed to meet the needs of a particular section of the population, so different amounts of information are needed in order for decisions on entitlement to be made.

For all our benefits, we try and keep the amount of information required to the minimum that allows for the proper administration of the benefit and ensures benefit is paid to those who are entitled to it.

We continue to reduce complexity wherever possible. For example, since 2005, those applying for pension credit by telephone have been able to get council tax benefit and housing benefit, using a shortened claim form completed by the Pension Service, and sent to the claimant to sign and return to their local authority. We have already announced plans to streamline this service even further, removing the need for the pensioner to take any further action. This will allow pensioners to access up to four benefits with one phone call.