The government has faced delays in processing state pension payments for those reaching pension age, it has confirmed.
According to pensions minister Guy Opperman, the Department for Work and Pensions is working to clear backlogs that have accumulated during to the Covid pandemic, having sorted out staffing issues that contributed to the delays.
Normal service is expected to resume by the end of October 2021.
In a written answer published on the parliamentary website yesterday (September 8) Opperman said the government has deployed hundreds of staff to help.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are sorry that some new state pension customers have faced delays receiving payment.
“All those affected have been identified and we have deployed extra resources to process these as a priority. Any claims made today should not be subject to delay.”
Back in July, the DWP said it was recruiting 183 individuals to help handle enquiries about the state pension.
It came after Opperman announced in April that throughout 2021/22 the department would look to hire an additional 360 staff, bringing its total to 510, to help it deal with the issue of state pension underpayments.
The DWP has identified underpayments relating to entitlements for certain married people, widows and the over-80s dating back to 1992.
The issue of state pension underpayments was first raised by pension consultants LCP back in May.
The issue arose because people failed to bring claims they were entitled to.
Under the old system, married people could claim a basic state pension at 60 per cent of the full rate based on their spouse's contributions, assuming this would be a greater amount than the pension they would receive from their own contributions.
Since March 17, 2008, this uplift should have been applied automatically. Prior to this date, a spouse had to make a “second claim" to have their state pension increased when their partner turned 65 - and many women in particular did not make such claims.
The DWP previously promised to search its records to unearth information on those who continue to miss out, and several thousand married women have already phoned DWP and made successful claims.
The government aims to pay back everyone who has been underpaid by the end of 2023.
As part of the March budget, the DWP estimated it will cost £3bn over the next six years to address the issue.
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