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Benefits

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that pensioners claim the benefits to which they are entitled.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government are committed to ensuring pensioners receive the support they are entitled to.

The latest estimates of take-up of all income-related benefits in 2009-10 were published in February 2012. The take-up report is available online at: http://statistics. dwp.gov.uk/asd/income analysis/feb2012/tkup full report 0910.pdf.

The Department for Work and Pensions makes information available in various locations (for example, our website at www.gov.uk, and leaflets available from our DWP information line on 0845 7313233) to ensure that people are aware of the benefits to which they may be entitled and how to claim them. In addition, the department is actively involved with around 4,000 local community partnerships across England, Scotland and Wales which provide a wide range of advice and support for pensioners.

The department writes to people up to four months before they reach their state pension age explaining their options, including how to claim their state pension or how to defer receiving it until later. State pension can be claimed online, by phone, or by submitting a claim form. When a customer makes a claim to state pension or reports a change in their circumstances, a customer adviser will also discuss a pension credit application with those who may be entitled. There is also a visiting service available to support vulnerable customers who are unable to access its services through other channels, such as telephony, post or online

Pensioners can, where eligible, claim housing benefit and council tax benefit alongside pension credit in a single phone call, without the need for a signed claim form. Calls to the 0800 claims number from a BT landline or from the six largest mobile phone networks are free.

Further information on benefits is also available on the department's website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits.

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