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Thousands left without any State Pension as DWP issues update and apology

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued an apology following complaints of delays in State Pension payments.

Thousands of people reaching the State Pension age of 66 have applied for their payouts to begin – but have received nothing.

The DWP blamed backlogs in processing applications caused by the pandemic and staff shortages.

READ MORE: State Pension warning as 200,000 couples lose out through Child Benefit error

Many people are angry and frustrated about the income gap between the wages they used to earn and the State Pension they were expecting to receive when they retired.

Former probation service receptionist Linda Higgins is among those yet to receive any of the pension she has claimed from the Government.

She turned 66 in July and says her personal pension is not enough to live on so she desperately needs the State Pension to which she is entitled.

“I’ve not received a penny. It makes me stressed and scared that I’m not going to get it,” she told the BBC. “I paid my taxes for 45 years so it is just not fair.”

READ MORE: New tax shock for State Pension claimants as National Insurance rules change

A DWP spokesman 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.”

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said hundreds of department staff were being redeployed to deal with the backlog in State Pension payments.

In a written reply to Phillipa Whitford, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) on September 16, Mr Opperman said: “DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

“The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

“We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

“Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.”

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Two days before that, in a written answer to MP Andrew Gwynne on September 14, Mr Opperman said: “The number of State Pension claims awaiting processing increased as a result of pandemic and its consequences.

“We are prioritising any State Pension claims that are currently overdue and claims where the customer is close to their date of entitlement.

“We send an SMS text message to customers to let them know that their claim has been received and is being processed, with written confirmation of their award by post.”

In July 2021, Mr Opperman had announced that the DWP was taking on 183 additional staff to “enhance our resources to work on our State Pension teams”. And in April, he said the DWP was hiring an additional 360 staff to address State Pension underpayment problems.

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