Pensioner expresses concern for bill payers over payments
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More than 500 staff members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have had to focus their attention on rummaging through old records because 100,000 women had their state pension underpaid for years, meaning there have been less staff to handle the new pensioners who are set to start receiving their pensions. The National Audit Office (NAO) published a highly critical report into how the DWP allowed those errors to happen, but it also revealed the figures that showed the number of pensioners waiting for their state pension has been growing.
Moneybox listener Chris was one of the many pensioners in this queue, waiting to receive their state pension.
On the MoneyBox podcast this weekend he said: “I’ve been chasing my pension since July this year when I became 66, and I had applied for it in May.
“I did ring up and confirm my application was okay and they said ‘Yes, everything is sorted, plenty of time, your money will be ready for you in July as it should be.’
“Unfortunately, I only managed to get my first payment.
When discussing what the money meant to him, Chris explained it was very important to him as he had no other forms of income coming in.
He added: “It was very important. I had savings, so I was using that while not being paid.
“But the real frustration was that they were unable to tell me whether I was getting payment by Christmas this year, or by next year.
“That was the most frustrating thing because I couldn’t budget to when I would be receiving my money.
“I went through about £3,000.”
Eventually Chris did receive his state pension however not all pensioners will be lucky enough to have savings to sustain them whilst they wait.
Chris added: “They’ve paid me two-thirds of if it this week and the balance will be in October.
“My biggest worry was that anybody sat there now listening to this programme who has got no income whatsoever, I don’t know how they are paying their bills, or how their buying their food.
“Why’s everything been so quiet, why’s it not been mentioned before? It’s just not good enough. I’ve paid in for fifty years, I’ve never missed a payment.
“This time last year I was in hospital after having major cancer surgery and one thing I promised myself in the high care unit was I would make 66 and I would draw out at least one payment back from all the contributions I had made.
“So frustrated when I got the bottle of champagne waiting but I didn’t get my payment.”
After listening to Chris’ interview, former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altman offered some guidance on the situation regarding these delayed state pensions payments.
She explained: “We don’t have a proper explanation as to why these delays have happened.
“In practice, administration of the state pension is still not mechanised.
“Also, I think that there is a real lack of proper training for specialists within the DWP who will be able to spot if there is a problem within the calculated state pensions and that has resulted in significant numbers of errors and of course in these unacceptable delays.”
A DWP spokesperson has commented on the NAOs report and said: “We are fully committed to ensuring the historical errors that have been made by successive Governments are corrected, and as this report acknowledges, we’re dedicating significant resource to doing so. Anyone impacted will be contacted by us to ensure they receive all that they are owed.
“Since we became aware of this issue, we have introduced new quality control processes and improved training to help ensure this does not happen again.”
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