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In government, the Department for Work and Pensions must be a “favourite target of smear campaign” for those with personal agendas against it, says an inquiry on future stability in a post-Snowden age.
In its report published on Wednesday, the independent Pensions Advisory Service, as well as Action for Pensions, argue that some “serious questions” need to be answered about non-payments to official-funded pensions.
The chief of the military, Sir Nick Carter, described it as a “serious issue” because “some of the affected servicemen and women may have long been forgotten”.
© Clarence Herbert/BISHOP MONTGOMERY CARTER
Even with modern technology, recording of pension benefits can take up to two weeks.
The PCAS report makes a number of recommendations, including that the government review its rights and obligations to inform under-paid retirees and ensure that not all advice services in both the public and private sectors provide the same level of service as the Government Pensions Adviser Service (GPA).
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The RSA, the biggest social security organisation for over-75s, estimates that between 30,000 and 100,000 of its 3.3 million members are affected.
“The security of our pensions is crucial to the welfare of our community,” said Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the RSA.
“They are a matter of life and death to those of us who pay into them, and the current inability to obtain an explanation for non-payment is an incredibly sad state of affairs.
“We have many families that will be very concerned that their loved ones will not receive their pension payments when they’re due.”
The report estimated that between 8,000 and 19,000 troops would be affected by failure to make a refund.
Only a review could resolve it.
From the report: “To ensure that pension systems work effectively for everyone who contributes, legitimate concerns about the treatment of debtors are always welcome.
“However, it is worth noting that a significant proportion of those making payments under the “tough old rules” are serious low-income earners who cannot afford to continue paying into their pensions.
“Are they being treated fairly?”