Pensioners told to use foodbanks after delays in paying their pensions...

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Pensioners told to use foodbanks after delays in paying their pensions...

Postby dutchman » Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:54 pm

State pension delays pushed retiree into arrears on her rent

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Pensioners have been left in financial distress after widespread delays with state pension payments during the pandemic has led to growing backlogs.

People turning 66, the minimum state pension age, have waited months for their pension to start paying out, despite making numerous calls to the Department for Work and Pensions to rectify the issue. The DWP has admitted to problem delays.

Guy Opperman, the pensions minister, told Parliament there were backlogs in initial state pension payments due to “staffing issues” during the pandemic. Normal service would not be resumed until the end of October, he said, though hundreds of additional staff have been brought onboard to tackle the issue.

Sue Lockett, 68, said her sister was reduced to tears after a DWP official told her she “wouldn’t starve” and “there were plenty of food banks around” while she waited for £1,590 in overdue payments.

Mrs Lockett, who acted on behalf of her sister Jean Walton, said no money had arrived in her account since her 66th birthday on June 30. That is despite helping her apply for her state pension three months in advance to ensure there would be no issues. Mrs Walton failed to meet her rent payments following the delay.

“I told the DWP she had never been behind with her rent for the past 30 years and would be in arrears for the first time through no fault of her own.,” Mrs Lockett said. “I told them she was struggling to pay her bills and food from her savings, which have now gone. One DWP assistant told me that she ‘won’t starve as there are plenty of food banks nearby’. I was disgusted for them to even suggest that.

Mrs Lockett said she had called the DWP every week to understand what the problem was, but was never given an explanation. The pensioner was asked to give the same long set of details each time, she said: “I’m ashamed to say that today having gone through it all again with no luck both my sister and myself got really upset with frustration and ended up sobbing into the phone.”

Mrs Lockett said on one occasion she was treated as though the DWP suspected she was a fraudster using someone else’s details to illegally access a pension. “I was crying on the phone because I was getting so frustrated but we got no sympathy,” she said.

After Telegraph Money contacted the DWP Mrs Walton was paid within one working day and has since paid out all the arrears. The 66-year-old is entitled to the full new state pension, worth £179.60 a week.

Steven Cameron of Aegon, a pension firm, said: “The state pension is there to provide for a dignified later life and it isn’t appropriate to suggest that someone should rely on food banks while waiting for it, through no fault of their own. You’d hope DWP would treat claimants with respect.”

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Re: Pensioners told to use foodbanks after delays in paying their pensions...

Postby dutchman » Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:06 pm

State pension MELTDOWN: Desperate new pensioners rage at bungling DWP after waiting MONTHS to start receiving payments

Furious savers have condemned woeful incompetence by the Department for Work and Pensions over long delays to state pension payments.

After This is Money exclusively revealed a service meltdown at the DWP, despairing elderly people trying to get payments started or end deferments have inundated us with stories and pleas for help.

Maureen Finch, 69, who has received no income since retiring in April, says 'the stress is unbearable, and I have forgotten what a night's sleep is'.

She and her husband David (pictured), who is in poor health, will reach their golden wedding anniversary next month but cannot afford to have a meal out or see family at the moment.

Another reader has struggled to get his pension since turning 66 in early July, after the DWP mislaid his claim form and failed to send a replacement despite numerous requests.

'I cannot face calling up the DWP again,' he says, and like several other readers he has now asked his MP to step in on his behalf.

After This is Money got involved and tackled the DWP for readers, some of them finally received their payments.

Many elderly people complain of long waiting times when contacting the DWP, getting repeatedly cut off, being promised callbacks that never happen, and receiving empty assurances that cases will be escalated.

Some say they have no income at all and cannot pay essential bills - in some instances because their disability benefit stopped as soon as they reached state pension age - but claim DWP staff who were told this have still failed to help them.

The state pension is paid four weeks in arrears when it first begins, but delays have stretched for a further month and sometimes several more in these cases.

At the end of last week, Labour MP Andrew Gwynne asked the DWP 'whether there have been any reported delays in processing initial payments for those who have reached state pension age'.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said in a written response: 'Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

'The Department is working hard to clear backlogs which have occurred by reason of the Covid Pandemic and staffing issues which have now been rectified. Hundreds of additional staff are currently being redeployed.'

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb, who is now a partner at LCP, said: 'The DWP should have been honest and open months ago that they were having problems processing new claims.

'They are still refusing to say how many thousands of people have been left in limbo. People reaching pension age should not have to make repeated phone calls just to get the money to which they are entitled.

'Anyone who has faced an unreasonable wait should definitely escalate the issue via their MP who should take it up with the DWP.

'The more MPs who understand the scale of the problem the more Parliamentary pressure will be put on the DWP to get things sorted out.'

Labour’s Shadow Pensions Minister, Matt Rodda MP, said: 'It beggars belief that the Government have not paid people the state pensions they are entitled to on time.

'People work hard all their lives and deserve to be able to retire on time. That new pensioners are facing months of delays shows the incompetence of this Conservative government. Ministers must get a grip and fix this issue.'

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Re: Pensioners told to use foodbanks after delays in paying their pensions...

Postby rebbonk » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:50 pm

Booze ups in a distillery spring to mind. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Thérèse Coffey and her department are simply not fit for purpose. Heads should roll, but they won't because there is no such thing as honesty or integrity anymore. Shame on the whole incompetent rabble!
Of course it'll fit; you just need a bigger hammer.
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Re: Pensioners told to use foodbanks after delays in paying their pensions...

Postby dutchman » Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:09 pm

They failed to send me the application form and after I sorted that out over the phone they failed to notify the local council that I was now a pensioner and I was virtually accused of fraud! :clown:

Fortunately I had enough savings to tide me over but I wasn't going to tell them that or I'd still be waiting.
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