Social Security Payments: Overpayments

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of John Barrett John Barrett Shadow Work and Pensions Minister

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average her Department took to investigate alleged instances of benefit overpayment following the death of the claimant in the last 12 months.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (the South West), Regional Affairs, Minister of State (the South West), Department for Work and Pensions, Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

holding answer 18 January 2010

Our investigations start when the Department receives details of the grant of probate. Those probate records are then matched against departmental records of deceased income related benefit recipients. In the majority of such cases no discrepancy with the records is identified. In those cases where further inquiries are required, the average time taken to complete those inquiries is 15 weeks. This is from receipt of the probate, including obtaining information from the executor, and ending with a formal claim on the estate.

We handle such cases as sensitively as possible, taking into account that this can be a particularly stressful time if the executor is a close friend or family member.

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