§ Mr. Field
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what procedures his Department has for tracing payments made in past years to claimants of benefit; what records the Department keeps of a claimant's entitlement to benefit over the years, and what records are kept to confirm that a claimant has over the years actually received the benefit to which he or she is entitled, such as whether it is possible where a payment has been made by Giro order, to confirm 632W that the recipient of the order has actually cashed it.
§ Mr. Prentice
The Department maintains individual records in respect of each claimant showing, over the years, the periods of eligibility for, and payments of, the various benefits. Paid orders, including Girocheques, are returned to central stores from which they can be obtained in the event of any dispute about receipt and/or encashment arising within a reasonable period of the payment being issued, generally a year for orders from pension and other order books and one year three months for Girocheques.