§ Earl Russell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will ensure that the requirements to produce documents under Section 19 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997 are not enforced against women who have left home to avoid domestic violence. [HL1337]
§ Baroness Hollis of Heigham
Section 19 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997 applies to all claimants who apply for a range of specified benefits.
In deciding what information or evidence a claimant needs to produce, due regard is always given to the circumstances of the person in question. It is rare for a person who already has a national insurance number (NINO) to be unable to supply sufficient information to enable their NINO account to be traced and confirmed.
Even if a NINO is not held, it is not necessarily the case that supporting documentary evidence would be required. In particular, if a person had left their home through domestic distress it would not be appropriate to ask for corroborative evidence to which they had no access. Additional information would be sought, which could then be corroborated with records held by the department or other agencies.
Furthermore, Section 19 of the Act does not prevent consideration of a payment on account of entitlement in cases of hardship.