Press release

Publication of DWP research: early findings from the evaluation of the Pension Credit payment study.

Trial used the information already held to estimate and pay Pension Credit to people thought to be entitled to Pension Credit.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Between November 2010 and March 2011, DWP ran a trial which used the information already held to estimate and pay Pension Credit for a short period of time to a sample of people thought to be entitled to, but not receiving, Pension Credit.

The trial looked to test whether these payments encouraged people to make a subsequent claim to Pension Credit, and to find out what older people thought of their personal data being used by DWP to make an automatic award of Pension Credit.

Early interim findings published today show that by August, nine per cent of trial participants had successfully claimed Pension Credit, compared to just over three per cent in the remainder of the eligible non-recipient population who had not participated in the trial.

Qualitative research with participants showed that people valued the extra income and were positive about the intentions of the trial, although some worried about the administrative burden for Government and about whether the trial was sufficiently well targeted.

People who claimed did so because it raised awareness of the benefit and their potential eligibility, and because they valued the additional income.

Those who did not claim cited a number of reasons. Some retained the view that they were not entitled or felt they did not need the money, and others did not claim because of health issues, or because they simply forgot. Some had misunderstandings about the trial and confusion around how to apply.

Notes to Editors:

DWP Research Summary Early findings from the evaluation of the Pension Credit Payment Study is published on 1 November 2011.

This publication reports early findings from in-depth interviews with 30 trial participants, and interim analysis of Pension Credit claims data. The qualitative research was carried out by Sue Arthur, Mehul Kotecha and Natalie Maplethorpe at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), and the quantitative analysis was carried out in-house by DWP.

Further evaluation findings will be published early in 2012. This will include a comprehensive assessment of the impact on claiming, analysis of its cost-effectiveness, and full reporting of the qualitative research.

The trial involved a national random sample of 2000 people. Estimated payments were made for a 12 week period, directly into participants’ bank accounts. Letters were sent to participants prior to the trial to explain what was happening, and ahead of the final payment, reminding them that the payments were due to cease and explaining how to make a claim. Successful claims were tracked using DWP data.

Published 1 November 2011