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State Pension Underpayments

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 21 April 2021

I wish to update the House on the state pension correction activity that is addressing historical errors, that were unaddressed by successive Governments, following on from my statement on 4 March.

We are fully committed to ensuring that any historical errors are addressed as quickly as possible to ensure that individuals receive the state pension they are rightfully due in law. While I am pleased to report that good progress has been made in the examination of cases, this is a complex and resource intensive process requiring the clerical examination of many thousands of state pension records.

The Department already has a dedicated team of over 150 people working on the correction activity. Throughout 2021-22 we intend to increase significantly the capacity of the team with the recruitment of an additional 360 staff. We expect this additional resource will speed up the correction activity, with the aim to complete the exercise by the end of 2023.

However, it is important to note that estimates on the numbers affected, and costs, are currently based on highly complex scans of the computer system, analysis of DWP administrative data and very small samples of cases randomly selected and reviewed. They are highly uncertain and will be further refined by our analysts as the correction activity progresses and we are able to base estimates on management information gathered from cases actually reviewed and corrected.

Individuals who are in the affected groups do not need to contact the Department. We are in the process of issuing letters to all those found to be underpaid in accordance with the law, explaining how much they will be receiving in arrears and the reasons for the change to their state pension rate.

The Department will publish further information on the progress of the state pension correction activity around the time of the next fiscal event.