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State Retirement Pensions

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claiming the state pension had their pensions payments temporarily suspended to perform system checks in each month of 2009; and how many days on average such checks lasted. (291156)

[holding answer 14 September 2009]: The information requested is not available. This is because payments of state pension are not temporarily suspended to perform any system checks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons individuals claiming the state pension may have their pension payments suspended. (291763)

Payment of state pension would be suspended until the issue in question is resolved. The Secretary of State has the discretion to suspend state pension in whole or in part and would normally do so until any issue which may lead to a doubt about ongoing entitlement had been resolved.

State pension may be suspended due to the following reasons:

When official DWP correspondence, which has been sent to the customer, is returned by Royal Mail stating ‘not known at this address’. Upon receipt of undelivered correspondence, we would suspend payment of benefit and take action to trace an up to date address for the customer. Payment would only be reinstated when a current address is obtained from the customer or their representative.

When benefit payments are returned by a bank or building society noted ‘account closed reason unknown’. Inquiries would need to be made to establish why the payment has not been made to the nominated account and this would prompt suspension of future payments until the reason is known.

Where the Department has been informed that a customer receiving Widows Benefit has remarried or where investigations show that a widow is living together as husband and wife with a new partner.

When a customer is remanded in custody.

When inquiries or allegations are made regarding a misappropriation of funds by the customer’s representative or power of attorney. This would be a request by either the Social Services or via third party disclosure and would result in suspension of benefit.

When the Department has been notified of the customer's death but the exact date is currently not known. Payment would be suspended until the issues in question are resolved.