NAO cites aging IT and lack of automation in underpaying £ 1 billion pensions

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The aging IT and lack of automated processes were the main factors behind the Department for Work and Pensions underpaying 134,000 people with a cumulative total of over £ 1 billion in state pension eligibility, according to a report from the National Audit Office. ..

In a review of the issue, which first emerged in April 2020, auditors said that human error is almost inevitable given the complex rules and advanced manual reviews required to evaluate claims for state pensions. “.

According to a report released today, this error affected pensioners who first claimed state-owned pensions before April 2016, with no complete national insurance record and basic state-owned pensions. It was supposed to receive a certain increase.

The issue was first highlighted by individuals and experts before the department began investigating the issue last year. Confirmed that a “serious” problem occurred in August 2020, DWP has been investigating cases throughout the year to find out who has low wages. The average underpayment per affected pensioner is estimated to be around £ 8,900, and NAO determines that most of the lost people are likely to be women.

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NAO concluded that the error occurred due to the complex state pension rules, the old IT system, the lack of automation, and the need for advanced manual review and understanding by caseworkers.

According to auditor reviews, such a system means that some errors are almost inevitable, but DWP also said it had missed an opportunity before identifying underpayments. This was because the department did not have a systematic means of reviewing complaints and errors and assessing whether the error had a systematic cause. In addition, the quality assurance process focused on checking for changes in case details, such as address changes and spouse deaths, rather than the overall accuracy of payments.

Gareth Davies, head of NAO, said the impact of underpayments on affected people was “significant.”

“It is important for the Department for Work and Pensions to correct past underpayments and make changes to prevent similar problems in the future,” he added.

DWP reviews of cases that may be at risk of underpayment are expected to continue until 2023, with an estimated labor cost of £ 24.3 million.

The program presents many challenges, including the difficulty of correcting underpayments for deceased pensioners. According to NAO, the number of pensioners who died because DWP usually does not hold records after the death of the pensioner or, if married, after the death of the spouse for more than four years for data protection reasons. I don’t know. As of last month, the ministry had not approved a formal plan to track the property of deceased pensioners.

A DWP spokesperson said: As I realized this issue, I introduced a new quality control process and improved my training to prevent it from happening again. “

NAO cites aging IT and lack of automation in underpaying £ 1 billion pensions

Source link NAO cites aging IT and lack of automation in underpaying £ 1 billion pensions

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