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Social Security Benefits

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the number of benefit claims maintained by post in each year since 1997; (249361)

(2) in what circumstances a benefit claimant may maintain a claim through postal signings.

Information regarding the number of benefit claims maintained by post is not available.

Postal signing is made available to customers: who live more than one hour, door to door, by public transport, in either direction, from the nearest jobcentre; or who would be absent from home in excess of four hours if they had to attend in person; or who have a mental or physical disability, which restricts their mobility; and in other exceptional circumstances for example, the customer would have to use a form of transport they would not ordinarily be expected to use on a regular basis, i.e. an inter-city train, ferry or plane.

If no public transport is available, postal signing is not granted to customers who can reasonably be expected to walk from home to the jobcentre within one hour, taking into account their age, health and the terrain over which they must walk. No customer is expected to walk more than three miles.