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An ex-contractor at the Department for Work and Pensions had two discs with thousands of benefit claimants' details for more than a year, the DWP says.
The unencrypted discs revealed the type of benefits paid, but a DWP spokesman said they did not contain bank details.
The woman told the News of the World she forgot to return them after she stopped working for the DWP a year ago.
In October, two child benefit discs containing the personal details of 25 million people went missing.