Pension warning for Brits – thousands yet to receive payments as deadline missed

Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said first payments for those who have recently turned 66 would be paid by the end of October. But 4,900 claims are still processing, reportedly due to the DWP needing more information from the individuals.

A further 400 payments were not completed until the end of November 2, according to i News, as civil servants scrambled to clear cases following the passing of the Government’s deadline.

Growing backlogs have been pinned on the disruption caused by lockdown.

But officials have admitted that poor management helped to make the problem worse.

Peter Schofield, the Permanent Secretary for the DWP, told MPs last week that staff were told to clear the backlog of underpaid state pensions, meaning other work was given insufficient attention.

“We realised we possibly did that too quickly, leaving us without the experienced agents on the business-as-usual work. There has needed to be a bit of rebalancing there,” he said.

An increase in pensions claims due to state pension age equalisation is also believed to have contributed to delays.

Earlier this year, the DWP hired 183 members of staff to work on its state pension team.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said in April that 360 extra workers will be added to the team of around 150 throughout 2021/22.

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The department has apologised that a “small number” – 4,900 – of claims still haven’t been processed.

“We have now made the vast majority of outstanding payments, with a small number left where we are in contact with the customer for more information,” it said.

i News reports that some MPs continue to receive correspondence from concerned constituents about the arrival of their first pension payment.

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Steven Cameron from life insurance company Aegon suggested that even minor disruption to pension payments can cause major financial stress.

“While it’s often highlighted that the state pension will not pay for a retirement of luxury, for too many people it is their main source of retirement income and for some their only one,” he told i.

“Even a short delay in receiving it could create financial hardships.”

The Director at the International Longevity Centre UK told the BBC last month that “for people who rely on the state pension as a relatively high proportion of their income [delays] could be a bit of a disaster”.

“The potential for anxiety and stress is huge.”

The Government said that any state pension claims made from now should not be subject to delays.

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