Monday, March 09, 2009

That would be nice

As if the poor exchange rate isn't affecting our pensions enough, we then find this:-

A failure to register crucial national insurance data properly since 1978 means that former state workers, including NHS, military and judicial staff, teachers and civil servants, have been underpaid. In some cases the average shortfall is £200 a year.

Although the Government knows about the error, it has made no public statement and has not told pensioners whether they are entitled to redress. Instead, letters were sent out last week telling those affected that their pension would increase to the correct amount next month.

In 1978 a number of public sector pension schemes contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pensions Scheme (Serps). As part of the deal, members were to receive a guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) from their occupational pensions, but the records were not properly updated. Staff in five pension schemes — the NHS, teachers, Armed Forces, judiciary and Civil Service — were affected.

Capita Hartshead provides administration services for the teachers’ and civil service pension schemes. It has yet to complete its recalculations and so is unable to determine at present how many scheme members have been underpaid.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said that pensioners who had been underpaid would receive backdated payments, but she was unable to say when this was likely to happen.

The spokeswoman said: “Before Christmas, the Government discovered a problem that affected several public service pension schemes that has resulted in a significant number of individuals being overpaid. The Government decided not to recover overpayments but to correct the pensions in payment from April 1, 2009.

“In cases where pensions are underpaid, the Government’s normal practice is to put right any underpayments.”

That seems fair. One question though - if Pam and I are affected can we have the back payments at the previous rate of exchange?

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