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Social Security Benefits: Overpayments

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 23 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) in how many cases overpayments of benefit have been reclaimed following the death of a claimant where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years, broken down by benefit type; (197871)

(2) in how many cases his Department has not pursued requests for repayment for overpayments following the death of a claimant in circumstances where the repayment was challenged by family members and where the repayment was not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years;

(3) in how many cases where his Department requested repayments of overpayments following the death of a claimant, and where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation, such requests were not challenged by family members in each of the last five years;

(4) what the value was of repayments of overpayments requested by his Department following the death of a claimant, in circumstances where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation and where the family members of the deceased claimants challenged the requests and did not subsequently make the repayments;

(5) what the value was of repayments of overpayments of benefits following the death of a claimant, where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years, broken down by benefit type.

[holding answer 31 March 2008]: Unfortunately, through no fault of any individual, overpayments of benefit can arise following the death of a benefit recipient. Such overpayments normally arise as a result of the Department being notified of the death too late to stop an automated payment being made into the deceased's account.

We are doing all we can to improve the current process. We are in the process of preparing to receive electronic notifications of death from the Office of National Statistics on a daily basis. This will assist in enabling a prompt cessation of payments following death and reduce the number of these overpayments occurring.

The Department has a duty to seek recovery of all overpaid funds where it is reasonable and cost effective to do so. However, we seek to do this as sensitively as possible, taking account of the fact that this will be a stressful time, particularly if the person contacted is a close friend or family member. Overpayments are written off if the deceased has no estate or there are insufficient funds in the estate.

The following table details how many of these overpayments have been recovered, and their value. We have only been collecting this information since 2005.

The other information requested is not available.

DPAD recoveries on debt manager, OpRec and ORCS—value of recoveries

£

2005-061

2006-07

2007-082

Total

Attendance Allowance

2,978,730

4,707,183

7,267,515

14,953,428

Carers Allowances

13,468

3,828

19,898

37,194

Constant Attendance Allowance

0

153

1,344

1,497

Disability Living Allowance - Care / Mob

1,734,359

1,557,216

2,254,046

5,545,621

Incapacity Benefits

122,389

302,169

431,798

856,357

Income Support

49,887

47,923

87,662

185,471

Invalid Care Allowances

84,926.36

609

0

85,536

Industrial Injuries Benefits

129,433

83,822

24,761

238,016

Industrial Death Benefits

52,661

28,033

35,107

115,800

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits

819

148,451

312,632

461,903

Invalidity Benefit

6,357

1,626

3,675

11,658

Jobseeker's Allowance

406

235

146

787

Mobility Allowance

5,269

2,447

506

8,222

Pension Credit

1,519,458

3,677,487

4,555,584

9,752,530

Retirement/State Pensions

13,793,186

27,372,631

30,201,062

71,366,878

Severe Disablement Allowance

19,419

36,254

46,959

102,632

Widows Benefits Widows Pension

11,467.42

12,020

8,020

31,507

Widows Pension

0

3,671

11,122

14,793

Other

7,089

17,647

49,474

74,211

Total

20,529,323

38,003,406

45,311,310

103,844,039

1 Data for 2005-06 are for the period June 2005 to March 2006 only.

2 Date for 2007-08 are up to 29 March 2008.

DPAD recoveries on debt manager, OpRec and ORCS—volumes of router accounts by benefit

£

2005-061

2006-07

2007-082

Total

Attendance Allowance

30,665

47,757

75,676

154,098

Carers Allowances

252

39

212

503

Constant Attendance Allowance

0

2

19

21

Disability Living Allowances

13,015

10,987

16,232

40,234

Incapacity Benefits

975

2,226

3,145

6,346

Income Support

337

289

523

1,149

Invalid Care Allowance

3,123

5

0

3,128

Industrial Injuries Benefits

1,180

670

121

1,971

Industrial Death Benefits

372

194

279

845

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits

6

1,388

2,818

4,212

Invalidity Benefit

51

21

29

101

Jobseeker's Allowance

4

3

2

9

Mobility Allowances

176

49

36

261

Pension Credit

16,884

40,799

54,292

111,975

Retirement/State Pensions

81,948

164,060

180,956

426,964

Severe Disablement Allowance

124

300

395

819

Widows Benefits

57

47

27

131

Widows Pension

0

23

53

76

Other

109

562

2,794

3,465

Total

149,278

269,421

337,609

756,308

1 Data for 2005-06 are for the period June 2005 to March 2006 only.

2 Date for 2007-08 are up to 29 March 2008.