State Pension  

Extra DWP staff hired to deal with wave of Waspi complaints

Extra DWP staff hired to deal with wave of Waspi complaints

The number of complaints against the Department for Work & Pensions about the effects of state pension age increases on women has meant more staff needed to be hired.

The Independent Case Examine's (ICE) office has been handling complaints about the changes which led to the creation of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign.

It was reported in May the DWP was dealing with more than 2,800 complaints about the equalisation of the state pension age for women.

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Because of the number of complaints received, the ICE has had to hire 13 more members of staff.

Justin Tomlinson, minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, said last week in a written answer to Parliament this funding was released for recruitments to be made in 2018/19.

The number of complaints received by the ICE in 2017/18 nearly doubled to 5,857 from the previous year, when 2,940 were received.

Of these 3,161 were related to pensions, which had "increased significantly" due to state pension age complaints, the ICE said in its annual report.

The ICE is part of the DWP and reviews complaints about government organisations that deal with benefits, work and financial support.

Earlier this month it emerged one of this cases resulted in the DWP being ordered to pay a woman £35 after she complained she was not given enough information about the changes in her state pension age.

The ICE has a dedicated team of three investigation case managers examining state pension age complaints.

As part of a legal campaign, thousands of women from across the country have submitted, and continue to submit, complaints against the DWP regarding what they call an inadequate communication of changes to the state pension age.

The Waspi movement has been at the forefront of this campaign, claiming that while the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women’s state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The group also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

BackTo60, another women campaign group, has been granted an oral hearing at the High Court, as they seek to lodge a judicial review claim.