HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc37-8W
31. Lawrie Quinn

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his information campaigns to promote take-up of pension entitlements by the over-60s. [55519]

Mr. McCartney

As part of the Government's commitment to combating poverty and providing security and independence for people aged 60 or over, new measures have been introduced to automatically identify pensioners who might be entitled to Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) and encourage them to claim. These measures build on the successful Take Up campaign which ran from May to November 2000, and contacted 2.4 million potential MIG customers. It generated approximately 1 million responses. Further mail shots in March 2001 coincided with the increase in capital limits from £8,000 to £12,000.

From April 2002, all customers contacting the RP Teleclaims Centre are offered information on MIG and asked if they would like someone to call them back to provide them with more information and pursue a claim. Those customers who do not wish to claim MIG via the RP Telecentre are sent a MIG information leaflet with their RP claim pack.

From April 2002, all customers who have claimed RP since November 2000 (the end of the last MIG take-up campaign) who have been identified as having a potential entitlement to MIG are being issued with a mailshot letter and leaflet to encourage them to claim. Around 100,000 pensioners will receive a mailshot over the April-June period.

Further (Key Life Event) MIG triggers have been introduced. Departmental data matching techniques are now being used to identify other new and existing pensioners with potential entitlement to MIG. These triggers identify customers who have a match with one or more predetermined 'key life events', which may indicate a potential entitlement to MIG, for example, when customers aged 60 and over receive a new award of one or more benefits, such as attendance allowance, industrial injuries benefit or housing benefit. A mailshot comprising a letter explaining the possible entitlement and inviting customers to claim along with a MIG1L leaflet is sent to all customers identified in this way.

In order to ensure take up of winter fuel payments, an information campaign ran throughout 2001, including advertisements in national and local press, a leaflet and poster made available in a variety of venues, including social security offices, post offices, supermarkets and doctors surgeries, a dedicated winter fuel payment helpline and information on the internet.

Through all of the above measures we intend to ensure that as many potentially eligible people over the age of 60 as possible do not miss out on the additional source of income MIG can provide them with.

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