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Social Security Benefits: Arrears

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the reduction in backdating periods for pension credit, council tax benefit and housing benefit; and what estimate he has made of the number of claims for backdating for periods of over three months in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. (206722)

[holding answer 6 June 2008]: The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is currently consulting on the package of regulations which include the changes to the time allowed for pensioners to claim pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit and reducing the backdating period for housing benefit and council tax benefit customers of working age. Once the consultation period is over the SSAC will produce a report which will include a summary of the representations they have received. The SSAC report and the Secretary of State's response to the consultation will be published. A number of representations have been submitted directly to the Department, which will all receive due consideration.

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Danny Alexander) on 15 May 2008, Official Report, column 1699W, which provides available data on the number of pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit claims backdated for over three months over the last five years.