Defined Benefit  

Civil servants urged to complain about pension clawback

Civil servants urged to complain about pension clawback

The Public and Commercial Services Union has urged its members to not comply with a request from the Civil Service Pension Scheme administrator to return erroneous overpayments and present a formal complaint if necessary.

The union, representing around 200,000 current and former civil servants, has demanded that the requests, totalling £2.7m, are written off and advised the members affected to use the internal dispute resolution process and, if necessary, the Pensions Ombudsman.

It was revealed in October that more than 2,000 members of the CSPS have been asked to hand back overpayments, with the largest single overpayment totalling £34,000.

In an update to members on Tuesday (December 3), PCS stated some scheme members had received letters detailing that a repayment plan would be put in place if the administrator, MyCSP, does not hear back from the individual within 28 days. This plan would see the monies owed taken directly from people's pension payments.

Members who have received such a letter have the right to object, the union said, as a complaint of maladministration has been filed with the ombudsman, which has not published its decision yet.

Matt Thurstan, chief executive of MyCSP and current administrator of the scheme, had explained in a letter in October that the errors occurred after employers made changes to the data used to calculate pension entitlements that were not considered by the pension scheme. This had led to over and underpayments to scheme members.

He said: “For some cases, these changes have resulted in a reduction to the member’s pension, giving rise to an overpayment.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We recognise the inconvenience this will cause some former employees, but we are obliged to recover overpayments where it will be of benefit to the taxpayer to do so.

“We must ensure pensioners are paid their entitlement. The vast majority of those impacted will see an increase to their pensions – and we offer a number of repayment options to those who have been overpaid.”

maria.espadinha@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know.