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Pension Credit

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken to process (a) a successful and (b) an unsuccessful pension credit application was in the last period for which figures are available, broken down by Pension Service office. (205388)

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the following table.

Pension credit applications March 2008

Pension Centre

Average actual clearance time (days)

Burnley

10.6

Cwmbran

9.3

Dundee

10.7

Leicester

12.8

Motherwell

12.3

London

12.5

Seaham

12.6

Stockport

20

Swansea

16.8

Warrington

11.6

Notes: 1. Separate data on average processing times for successful and unsuccessful Pension Credit applications is not available. 2. Birmingham caseload transferred to Stockport Pension Centre February 2008. 3. Only working days are counted. 4. the average Actual Clearance Time is measured from the date on which all evidence is received to enable a decision to be made. Source: Department for Work and Pensions Management Information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what rules are in place relating to the treatment of inherited assets by claimants for the purposes of pension credit and income support; and whether those rules allow claimants to dispose of any of those assets to charities or others without penalty. (206681)

In all the income-related benefits, which include pension credit and income support, income and capital, including that which has been inherited are taken into account in the calculation of benefit. Rules allow the decision maker to take into account any resources that a person may have deprived themselves of in order to secure, retain or increase entitlement to an income-related benefit

If the decision maker determines that a person has deprived themselves of capital, which could include spending money on luxury items, giving money to charities, family members or others, that person will be treated as still possessing that capital when assessing entitlement to benefit.

Within pension credit, assessed income periods for those recipients aged 65 or over were introduced to reduce the level of intrusion sometimes associated with income related benefits. The assessed income period is currently a specific period up to five years, during which time the customer does not have to report any changes to their retirement provision, by which we mean income from capital, annuities and pensions. During an assessed income period receipt of an inheritance would not generally need to be reported. When the assessed income period comes to an end, customers need to provide evidence and information on their current income and capital, in the same way that they do at the start of a claim so that their entitlement can be re-assessed before another assessed income period can be set.