Why has Parliament been asked to intervene over state pension compensation?

by The Technical Blogs

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The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has taken the “rare but necessary” decision to ask Parliament to intervene over complaints around how state pension changes were communicated.

Here is a look at what has happened:

– What has the ombudsman been looking at?

The ombudsman has investigated complaints that, since 1995, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to provide accurate, adequate and timely information about areas of state pension reform.

The 1995 Pensions Act and subsequent legislation raised the state pension age for women born on or after April 6 1950.

– What has the ombudsman asked for?

It has asked Parliament to identify a mechanism for providing appropriate remedy for those who have suffered injustice.

The report said: “We think this will provide the quickest route to remedy for those who have suffered injustice because of DWP’s maladministration.”

The ombudsman has also said that, in addition to paying compensation, the DWP should acknowledge its failings and apologise.

– Why does it want Parliament to step in?

The ombudsman’s report said: “Complainants have also told us they doubt DWP’s ability or intent to provide a remedy.

“Given the scale of the impact of DWP’s maladministration, and the urgent need for a remedy, we are taking the rare but necessary step of asking Parliament to intervene.”

– What level of compensation has been suggested?

The PSHO has suggested a level of between £1,000 and £2,950.

It has given this suggestion to Parliament and it will be up to Parliament to determine a remedy.

– What has the reaction been?

There have been some calls for compensation to be set at a higher level.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) chairwoman Angela Madden has said all political parties owe it to the women affected “to make a clear and unambiguous commitment to compensation”.

– What will happen now?

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride is likely to appear in the House of Commons before the Easter recess to address the ombudsman’s recommendations, Penny Mordaunt suggested.

Commons Leader Ms Mordaunt said her colleague “will want to come to the despatch box”.

The DWP has said it will consider the ombudsman’s report and respond in due course.

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