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House of Commons Hansard
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Jobseeker’s Allowance
23 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average time between application and payment was for (a) jobseeker’s allowance and (b) income support in each month of the last two years; [321452]

(2) what the average processing time of applications for (a) jobseeker’s allowance and (b) income support was in each benefit delivery centre in each month of the last two years.

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The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking (i) what the average time between application and payment was for (a) jobseeker’s allowance and (b) income support in each month of the last two years and (ii) what the average processing time of applications for (a) jobseeker’s allowance and (b) income support claims in each benefit delivery centre in each month of the last two years. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

We cannot measure when the customer actually receives their first payment. The payment will be issued, if the customer is eligible, on the date a letter of eligibility is issued from our system. It is then either through the banking clearance system for the relevant bank/building society, or Post Office Card Account to make the actual monies available to the customer or for the postal system to deliver a cheque payment for the customer to cash.

Jobcentre Plus has formally published targets for the average actual clearance time (AACT) taken to process Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support claims. AACT is calculated from our benefit processing system and is a result of taking all the claim volumes processed within any given month against the total number of days each claim has taken to process. The system conducts a simple division calculation using these data sets to provide us with the AACT.

The time used to calculate the AACT for the 2 benefits differs slightly;

For Jobseeker’s Allowance the two dates used to calculate this average are from the initial date of customer contact i.e. their call to one of our Contact Centres or the first date of unemployment (whichever is the later) to the date a decision is made on their claim and a letter of eligibility is issued to them.

For Income Support the two dates used to calculate the AACT are from the date the customer provides all the evidence required to process the claim to the date a decision is made.

For each benefit the AACT in days was as follows:

Income support

Jobseeker’s allowance

2005-06

12

12

2006-07

11

12

2007-08

11

12

2008-09

10

11.5

2009-10

10

11.5

I have arranged to have placed in the House of Commons Library the Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support AACT data for the last two years.

I hope this information is helpful.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of jobseeker’s allowance claims took more than 12 days to process in each benefit delivery centre in each month of the last two years. [321471]

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The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many and what proportion of jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) claims took more than 12 days to process in each benefit delivery centre in each month of the last two years. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Our management information system does not hold data specifically relating to JSA claims taking more than 12 days to process.