§ Mr. Banks
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will set out the authority for establishing the priority for paying arrears of pension of a deceased person to that person's estate rather than the spouse of the deceased who maintained that person up to the time of death; and what is the number of such cases for the latest convenient period.
§ Mr. Orme
The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1975 made under section 81(4)(e) of the Social Security Act 1975 give the Secretary of State discretion to pay arrears of benefit to, or distribute among, personal representatives, legatees, next-of-kin or creditors of the deceased. The Act gives no order of priority. Practice may vary according to particular circumstances but, to avoid dispute where more than one person might have equal claim, the arrears are usually paid to the executor who is, of course, responsible for the proper administartion of the estate. I regret that the numbers requested are not kept.