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Small-scale studies/research in support of EMCO thematic discussions and support bilateral cooperation activities in the area of employment and social affairs (US, Japan, China, India, ASEM, Latin America, etc.) Various topics of common interest to MS and topics for future joint bilateral
Chandlers Ford (Southampton)
Newcastle Under Lyme
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Chancellor announced in his Budget 2008 speech that for winter 2008-09 an additional payment will be made alongside the winter fuel payment. Households with someone aged 60 to 79 will receive an additional £50 and households with someone aged 80 or over will receive an additional £100.
The levels of benefits are increased once a year, in April. The increases are calculated, for most contributory and non-contributory benefits, using the increase in the retail prices index for the 12 months ending in the preceding September. This ensures that benefits keep their real value in broad terms.
Income-related benefits (jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support) are usually increased in line with September's 12-month rate for the Rossi index. The Rossi index is the retail prices index excluding rent, mortgage interest payments, council tax and depreciation costs. This index is used because help for housing costs is given to people getting income related benefits either as additional amounts in those benefits or in council tax benefit and housing benefit. Consequently any increases in council tax would usually be met by council tax benefit.
The inflation figures are based on a year-on-year comparison of prices. Therefore any recent fluctuations in inflation will be taken into account in the benefit increases that will take effect from April 2009.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 3 April 2008, Official Report, columns 83-84WS, on disability benefits (European Court of Justice), on what date and at what time the information was posted on (a) his Departmental website and (b) direct.gov website. 
(a) The DWP website published a news item, aimed at disability advisers, on its Disability and Carers subsite (www.dwp.gov.uk/dcs) on 3 April at 1.10 pm. This item linked to the information on the Direct.gov website which is aimed at the general public.
(b) The article was published live on the Direct.gov site on 3 April at 10.00 am.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many birth certificates his Department received for proof of identity for benefit claimants, including winter fuel payment claimants, in each of the last five years; and how many were subsequently reported (a) by his Department and (b) by the claimant as lost or stolen. 
David Heyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) in how many cases overpayments of benefit have been reclaimed following the death of a claimant where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years, broken down by benefit type; 
(2) in how many cases his Department has not pursued requests for repayment for overpayments following the death of a claimant in circumstances where the repayment was challenged by family members and where the repayment was not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years; 
(3) in how many cases where his Department requested repayments of overpayments following the death of a claimant, and where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation, such requests were not challenged by family members in each of the last five years; 
(4) what the value was of repayments of overpayments requested by his Department following the death of a claimant, in circumstances where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation and where the family members of the deceased claimants challenged the requests and did not subsequently make the repayments; 
(5) what the value was of repayments of overpayments of benefits following the death of a claimant, where such repayments were not mandatory under social security legislation in each of the last five years, broken down by benefit type. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 31 March 2008]: Unfortunately, through no fault of any individual, overpayments of benefit can arise following the death of a benefit recipient. Such overpayments normally arise as a result of the Department being notified of the death too late to stop an automated payment being made into the deceased's account.
We are doing all we can to improve the current process. We are in the process of preparing to receive electronic notifications of death from the Office of National Statistics on a daily basis. This will assist in enabling a prompt cessation of payments following death and reduce the number of these overpayments occurring.
The Department has a duty to seek recovery of all overpaid funds where it is reasonable and cost effective to do so. However, we seek to do this as sensitively as possible, taking account of the fact that this will be a stressful time, particularly if the person contacted is a close friend or family member. Overpayments are written off if the deceased has no estate or there are insufficient funds in the estate.
|DPAD recoveries on debt manager, OpRec and ORCSvalue of recoveries|
|2005-06( 1)||2006-07||2007-08( 2)||Total|
|(1) Data for 2005-06 are for the period June 2005 to March 2006 only.|
(2) Date for 2007-08 are up to 29 March 2008.
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