An investigation by the UK’s spending watchdog has found that “repeated human errors over many years” were to blame for the fact the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) underpaid 134,000 pensioners over £1 billion in state pension.
According to the National Audit Office (NAO), these errors occurred due to complex state pension rules, outdated and automated IT systems, and caseworkers who “often made errors”processing claims because they “found instructions difficult to use and lacked training on complex cases.”
Exacerbating the problem, the DWP “missed earlier opportunities to identify underpayments” because it didn’t have a away of reviewing how many people were complaining about the same issues, the investigation found.
The DWP’s underpayment affected 134,000 pensionsers who first claimed their state pension before April 2016.
“The impact of the underpayment of State Pension on those pensioners affected is significant,” said NAO head Gareth Davies.
“It is vital that the Department for Work & Pensions corrects past underpayments and implements changes to prevent similar problems in future.”