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4 Feb 2014

DWP news roundup

Prisoners have been handed £41million in benefits they are not entitled to over six years.

Almost 100,000 British pensioners living in warm countries including Spain, France and Greece are to lose their winter fuel payments in a crackdown on ‘sunshine benefits’. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has hammered out details of a new ‘temperature test’ that will remove the handout, worth up to £300 a year, from such expats. In total, it will mean that payments are stopped to 92,983 residents of Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar, he revealed. Taxpayers will save almost £17million a year.

Tens of thousands of parents with five or more children are claiming out of work benefits. But they don't seem to be able to distinguish between those who already had large families when they went on benefits, and those who were already on benefits and had more children. The Conservatives are also considering lowering the benefits cap. 33,000 families were claiming more than £26,000-a-year in handouts before benefits cap was imposed.

Thousands of people have been wrongly identified as liable for the so called bedroom tax, including some who now face eviction or have been forced to move to a smaller property, as a result of an error by Department of Work and Pensions. Housing experts believe as many as 40,000 people could be affected by the mistake. The DWP says it believes only a "small number" of tenants are affected, which it estimates number 5,000. All could be eligible for refunds worth on average at least £640 per claimant and millions in aggregate.

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