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August 2002

Services For Pensioners From The Pension Service

On 1st April 2002 the Department For Work and Pensions introduced 2 new services -

1. Jobcentre Plus, bringing together the former Benefits Agency and Employment Service, providing help in finding jobs and paying benefits to people of working age and

2. The Pension Service, providing telephone -based service from 26 regional centres, backed up by local services for those who need face to face advice or a visit.  It brings together the Benefit's Agency pension related services

The Pension Service will make a difference to people aged 60 or over in Moray, Highland, the Western Isles and Orkney.

A phased programme, starting in autumn 2002, will mean that claims and enquiries relating to Retirement Pensions and Minimum Income Guarantee will be dealt with at a new centre in Motherwell.  Pensioners will be able to contact the pension centre by dialling an 0845 telephone number.  Pension centre staff will answer all calls - there will be no keypad numbers to press.  Switchboard opening hours will be extended from 8.00am - 8.00pm Monday - Friday.  There will also be a choice of contact by post or email.

Motherwell Pension Centre will write to people receiving Retirement Pension and Minimum Income Guarantee nearer the time to let them know their claims have been transferred.

To help pensioners who have difficulty in accessing the pension centre, a new local service is being set up.  the local service will provide:

 - Home Visits, covering the full range of pensioner benefits  and signposting to other 
   benefits and local services where appropriate;

 - Local "surgery" services offering appointment or drop-in facilities, in partnership with
   other local organisations;

- Support for partner organisations engaged in benefit take up activities.

To begin with , local service staff will be based at social security offices at Elgin, Inverness, Fort William, Stornoway and Wick.  However the local service will be provided in such a way that pensioners need no longer call the at social security office to see about their benefits.

The aims are to develop local services to suit local conditions.

Any local organisations who would like to find out more about the new service can contact  -
Jim Walker
Local Service Delivery Manager
Moray, Highland, Western Isles and Orkney
Social Security Office
21 Trinity Road
IV30 1RJ

Tel 01343 528000
Fax 01343 528001

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