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Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people, broken down by gender, who have made applications for incapacity benefit in the last year have had their applications refused as a result of an incomplete contributions history. 
Between March 2004 and February 2005 around 330,145 incapacity benefit claims were 'disallowed at outset', due to failing the contribution conditions. Information by gender is not available.
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(2) what criteria benefits claimants must fulfil to be granted a domiciliary medical examination to assess their eligibility for benefits; and what estimate he has made of the number of claimants who met this criteria in 200405; 
Mrs. McGuire: Specific details of the cost of a domiciliary medical examination to assess claimants' eligibility for benefits and details of the provisions Atos Origin have made within its budget for domiciliary medical examinations are commercial in confidence and not disclosed.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the monthly off-flow from incapacity benefits for each Jobcentre Plus district has been since January 2003, broken down by region. 
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have (a) requested and (b) been granted a domiciliary medical examination to assess their eligibility for benefits in each of the last four years. 
|As at 1 July to 30 June||Number of domiciliary visits|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is possible for (a) a benefit recipient and (b) a recipient of both tax credits benefits administered by his Department to have a marginal deduction rate of over 100 per cent. 
Analysis underpinning the marginal deduction rates published in the DWP Tax Benefit Model Tables and also table 4.2 in recent Budget and pre-Budget reports reveal no meaningful cases where marginal deduction rates exceed 100 per cent.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) subject matter and (b) dates were of opinion survey research undertaken by the Department and its agencies in the last 12 months; if he will place copies of the results of each survey in the Library; which companies were used in conducting the research; and how much each was paid. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The DWP conducts annual omnibus surveys to monitor public awareness of the Department and its responsibilities, and also public attitudes to the Government's welfare reform. Both pieces of research have been carried out during the last 12 months, the Omnibus Survey being conducted in January 2005 and Awareness Research taking place in March 2005. The cost for both pieces of work is £86,000. Mori conducted both surveys.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the total (a) overpayment and (b) underpayment of pension credit; how many people have been affected; and what the average amount of over or under payment has been. 
Mr. Timms: Latest estimates are available for pension credit overpayments for the first six months following the launch of pension credit in October 2003. Of the £2.46 billion pension credit paid between October 2003 and March 2004, approximately £150 million was overpaid and £47 million underpaid. On average over this period 511,000 incorrect awards were in payment at any one time, with approximately half of these due to customer error. Overpayments were an average of approximately £15 per week and underpayments were an average of approximately £11 per week.
The Department aims to recover overpayments of entitlement without causing undue hardship to the customer. If an overpayment has occurred there are a number of options the Department can take to recover the moneyincluding inviting the customer to repay on a voluntary basis, deductions from current benefits and in cases of fraud, civil proceedings. Each case is decided having regard to the particular circumstances of the customer.
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3. The sample of 2,500 cases used to calculate these figures is a snapshot" of the pension credit caseload and does not track the progress of an award. Estimates of the average amount that a pension credit customer has been overpaid or underpaid during the life of their award, or of the total number of cases affected in the six month period as a whole, are not available.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with the Pension Service on the use of pension credit payments under the Supporting People initiative to meet a proportion of service charges for pensioners living in sheltered accommodation. 
Mr. Timms: Funding for the Supporting People Programme is provided for by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the devolved Administrations, through fixed grants to local authorities. The local authorities are responsible for planning, commissioning, inspecting, and funding services at the local level. Pension credit is a DWP benefit and does not fall under the Supporting People Programme.
The Supporting People scheme provides funding arrangements for housing-related support services that had previously been paid through income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and, principally, housing benefit. Guidance to Pension Service decision-makers emphasises the importance of identifying types of service charges for which people are liable to ensure that provision is made through the correct channel.
|Department||Year||Average working days lost|
The Department for Work and Pensions was created in June 2001. Due to migration of businesses into, and out of the newly forming Department, and differences in calculation methods, figures for the Department as a whole are only available from 2001. Information provided before this date relates to the former Department for Social Security (DSS), the main predecessor Department in place prior to the formation of DWP.
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The DWP is committed to reducing its levels of sick absence. The Department's managing attendance policy was subject to a recent review by the National Audit Office. Recommendations from the NAO report have been put in place, including a re- launch of the policy.
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