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State Pension Credit Research Study

Volume 518: debated on Monday 15 November 2010

Starting from today, the Government are running a study exercise to look at ways of making better use of the data they hold about individuals, both from DWP administrative records and those of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in order to help improve take-up of pension credit.

This study has been designed to meet the following objectives:

Provide information about how people might feel about a system which makes more use of personal information that the Government already hold to pay people pension credit without the need for a claim.

Evaluate ways of using the data available to the Government to improve take-up under the current pension credit regime.

Deliver evidence about how in the long term a reshaping of the benefit or acquisition of better data might enable the Government to streamline radically the process for awarding pension credit.

This study will involve making awards of estimated pension credit to a randomly selected group of some 2,000 pensioners who, based on the personal information held, appear to be entitled to pension credit but not claiming it. These payments of benefit will be made for 12 weeks without those selected first needing to have made a claim. The first payments will be made in December and conclude in March 2011.

At the end of the study there will be a thorough evaluation, with initial findings expected from summer 2011.