The DWP is attacked today by MPs on the powerful Commons Public Accounts Committee for not having a credible plan to reimburse hundred of thousands of pensioners who have been shortchanged billions of pounds in pension payments.
The scheme is the only programme where the DWP admits it has made gigantic mistakes by underpaying pensioners and is committed to return the money owed to them. It is obvious at the moment that ministers and civil servants have no intention of reimbursing people who have been denied a guaranteed minimum pension when they were contracted out by their employer.
Nor do they appear to be remotely interested in compensating the 1950s women who lost six years of their pensions despite it being clear that the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Robert Behrens, has found maladministration in not telling the women properly about it, let alone even considering whether women were unfairly discriminated by the decision. The fact that not a single minister has talked to anybody about 50swomen since 2016 speaks volumes.
What is clear from a report by the MPs ( which also tackles benefit fraud) is that they are distinctly unimpressed by the DWP’s handling of this despite assurances from Peter Schofield, the permanent secretary, at the department during a committee hearing earlier this year.
Peter Schofield Pic credit: gov.uk
The Department’s efforts to correct the systemic underpayment of State Pension are too slow to meaningfully put things right. The Department now estimates that 237,000 pensioners have been underpaid a total of £1.46 billion in their State Pension.
“Despite these underpayments going back as far as 1985, the Department’s overall exercise to correct this issue is delayed from the end of 2023 to the end of 2024. The Department cannot be certain that its plan to deliver the exercise on schedule is achievable, as it is dependent on assumptions around recruitment, retraining, and automation.
“We are not convinced that the Department has done enough to ensure its communications to potentially affected pensioners are sufficiently clear. We are concerned that this may leave many pensioners lacking reassurance that they will receive meaningful and timely redress.
We remain unconvinced about the DWP – MPs.
“The Department does not yet know the full extent of the underpayment relating to Home Responsibilities Protection, and it is dependent on HMRC to evaluate the impact of these underpayments on pensioners. The Department cannot be certain that it has identified all the underpayments implied by the results of its annual measurement exercise. Overall, we remain unconvinced that the Department’s control systems are adequate to detect further underpayments before they build up into major issues in future.”
Sounds familiar. Anyone trying to ring the department already knows what lousy communicators the ministry is- that is, if you can get through to them..
And it looks like there is worse to come. The report said:
“The NAO [National Audit Office] reported that the Department cannot rule out that there may be further groups of pensioners, as yet unidentified, that have been affected by a historic underpayment.
It concluded that this was in large part because the Department had not set out plans to revise its control processes for State Pension cases to ensure that underpayments are detected and recorded at the point of payment.”
Yet again through delays and failure to get a grip pensioners are being cheated of their rightful dues and many may die before they receive them. Is there no part of the DWP that can function correctly?
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Why oh why does none of this surprise me my only hope as a pensioner and a woman born in the fifties is that someone in the government and the DWP finally sorts this mess out but I have to say 220,000 fifties women have already died so I’m not holding my breath. I worked full-time for fifty years and payed into the system.
It’s now time for the system to do the right thing and pay out what pensioners are owed enough is enough sort it now!!…
About time to make big changes so the department starts to work.
They probably want these very hard done by ladies to die so nothing will be paid
Born in 50s and children in70s was hard no childcare or help with childcare so part time work for most and married woman’s national insurance who’s idea was that yep government and DWP so shouldn’t they look into history before deciding to increase pension age and how many people ie nurses builders are going to be fit enough to work as age increases to 70 think they would gain more confidence in public by admitting they’d made mistakes if it were a private pension company they would have to and why keep saying its a benefit if youve paid national insurance how can they say that
Dear David Hencke,
The 1950s ladies have to campaign into this political class, despite each Tory, Labour and Lib Dems government betraying us around the state pension since Prime Minister Callaghan in late 1970s.
There is a 1950s pension campaign (including all pensioners and 1960s to 1980s born fellow sufferers as 1950s born) to get moral support for creation of potential new Over 50s (policies ages 1 to 100 plus) party, to run against Tory, Labour and Lib Dems, especially in England and Wales, to get into government at next general election.
When will you, please, do a blog article to support that campaign, please?
www dot over50sparty dot org dot uk
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