State pension: People 'rely on the DWP' to get sums right
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The Government has spent more than £1billion rectifying mistakes it made relating to the state pension, it has been discovered. A Freedom of Information Request lodged by LCP found eight separate mistakes which meant pensioners were underpaid.
Six of these errors were not previously known to the public.
Taxpayers may not have known about these issues, but they did help to pay the bill.
It is believed that the mistakes cost British taxpayers at least £100million, as experts estimated the cost to be in the nine figures.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to confirm the extent to which taxpayers were impacted.
These eight errors took place since 2007, more than one every two years.
The six errors which have just been uncovered included underpayments for people who deferred their state pension, surviving spouses and some transgender women.
Some of these mistakes were believed to have cost millions of pounds.
One error involved 134,000 women being underpaid after their state pension payments were miscalculated.
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A total of more than £1billion was underpaid to these women.
In one particular case, a woman was underpaid for more than 35 years from 1985 to 2021.
Those who have been impacted are due an average payout of £8,900, with one in eight people being owed a much larger sum of more than £40,000 as a result of them being underpaid.
Rebecca O’Connor of interactive investor, said: “These systemic errors amount to a betrayal of the trust placed in the state pension system by millions of pensioners.
“The DWP urgently needs to get its act together and pay people money they are rightfully entitled to, after years of hard work. These are not trivial amounts of money, especially to those dependent on the state pension and struggling with rising living costs.
“The complicated system has enabled these underpayments to go undetected for years. Even some of those within the department charged with administering the state pension appear not to understand it.
“The discovery of so many errors now shows that review and reform are urgently needed, to restore faith in the state pension and protect older people’s true entitlements from future miscalculations.”
Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices, told Express.co.uk: “There’s been a catalogue of mistakes by the DWP over a period of years, and I’m increasingly thinking that it’s not fit for purpose as far as payment of pensions are concerned.
“Recently there was lots of concern that when people became entitled to a state pension, they weren’t being given it on time, they had to wait for their first state pension payment to come through because of problems in the DWP.
“It’s a complete mess to be honest, and these latest figures are shocking in terms of the amount that people have been underpaid.
“There’s a complete lack of transparency there, it’s just rotten to the core. It’s probably completely understaffed, which is part of the problem.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “This year we will spend over £100billion on the state pension and our priority is ensuring every pensioner receives all the financial support to which they are entitled. These correction exercises highlight how, where errors do occur, they are identified and rectified.”
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