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Social Security Benefits

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance her Department gives people whose benefit claims are rejected or withdrawn on grounds of excess capital on what future rundown of capital will be regarded as reasonable. (302542)

If a customer is not entitled to an income-related benefit due to excess capital a decision notice will be issued to the customer that includes reasons for the disallowance and details of their right to a reconsideration of the decision and, where appropriate, to an appeal. Customers are also informed that they will need to reapply if their circumstances change, in order for eligibility to be reassessed. No specific advice is given as to the future rundown of capital in these cases. This is because subsequent decisions on whether deprivations have occurred are a matter of judgement by independent decision makers.

If it is established that the customer has deliberately deprived themselves of capital in order to obtain income- related benefits, the customer will be treated as still possessing that capital when assessing entitlement to benefit. Their claim will be subject to a calculation to determine at what point this notional capital would have been expected to reduce below the capital limit and so enable the customer to make a new claim. The calculation is based on the prevailing benefit rates. The customer will be given details of the calculation in their case, together with the rights of review and, where appropriate, appeal.