Scottish pensioners missing payments as UK Government prepares to scrap triple lock

Delays in state pension payments by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are leaving elderly Scots in financial hardship, an SNP MP has revealed.

Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, said constituents had not received payments for more than a month, “causing hardship and distress”, and accused the DWP of being “lax” in addressing the problem.

She has now written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, calling on the UK Government to urgently investigate and address the ongoing delays in payments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In her letter, she says: “My constituents applied for their state pensions month in advance of reaching retirement age, and were informed by the DWP that they would soon receive a statement outlining their pension entitlement and payments.

WASPI women have been hit by delays to their pensions an MP has claimed.
WASPI women have been hit by delays to their pensions an MP has claimed.
WASPI women have been hit by delays to their pensions an MP has claimed.

"However, they have found that such a letter was not provided before they reached retirement age and when they reached the qualifying age they have found themselves waiting over a month without receiving state pension payments.

Read More
Worth knowing the fine detail of taxation and pensions as you look to retirement...

"I have contact the DWP only to find it to be lax in addressing the concerns raised, with correspondence simply not answered and/or not within a reasonable timeframe. I ask that you urgently investigate and address the delays.”

Pensioner poverty has recently risen to a 15-year high of 18 per cent, meaning around 2.1 million pensioners across the UK are now living in poverty – with the state pension the most important source of income for many.

Paid in arrears, there can be a four-week gap for receipt of a first pension payment, but Ms Gibson said the delays faced by her constituents were longer.

Ms Gibson said: “It is deeply concerning that new pensioners are facing unacceptable delays in vital support from the DWP.

“It is particularly upsetting for those WASPI women who, after being forced to wait six years to get the pension to which they are entitled, finally reach the new state pension age, only to find that poor service from the DWP has left them in limbo as they face unacceptable delays to receiving their rightful pension payments upon which they rely.

“Despite raising these issues on behalf of individuals, I have found the DWP uncooperative and lax in addressing these serious concerns.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.”

The concerns about pensioner poverty come as the UK government looks set to scrap the triple lock, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak expected to make a statement next week.

Introduced during the 2010 coalition government as a way to safeguard annual rises in the state pension, the system sees it increase by whichever is greatest: average earnings growth, 2.5 per cent or inflation.

However, the benefit is coming under increased pressure over soaring costs, with a belief the Covid pandemic could see it rise by eight per cent next year.

When questioned on the matter in July, Mr Sunak said a decision would be made later in the year based on “fairness”.

One suggestion has been reverting to a double lock, or “smoothing” earnings data to strip out the effects of furlough.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.