DWP warned 'there is clearly a problem' in WASPI compensation update

The WASPI compensation payout chaos has been explained by a former minister. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been told to compensate women following historic injustices in State Pension payments.

A former pensions minister and Labour MP Sir Stephen Timms said: "A lot of people did know about this change. Passing of the legislation was widely reported at the time nearly 30 years ago. I vividly recall in the first of those two stints as pensions minister, I spent a fair chunk of most days signing replies to letters from MPs who’d written on behalf of their constituents.

"The constituents were unhappy with the pending change or calling on the then fairly new Government to change it. The replies I signed were robust and clear that the decision wasn’t going to be reversed. So the decision was quite well known."

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He said: "What the Ombudsman has established and has made clear in the report, is that the department found out, at around the second time that I was pensions minister, that only 40 per cent of women knew about the forthcoming pension age change. 40 per cent is a lot of people but 60 per cent is an even larger number who did not know. The department found that out from some research in 2003-4 and did nothing about it for several years, until 2009.

"That is the maladministration that the Ombudsman has identified. We don’t know why nothing was done, or I certainly don’t. The Ombudsman hasn’t told us. But I don’t think it can credibly be argued that this was not maladministration. To find that information out and do nothing, I think there clearly is a problem."

A representative for the DWP responded, stating: "We are considering the Ombudsman's report and will respond in due course, having cooperated fully throughout this investigation." They added: "The government has always been committed to supporting all pensioners in a sustainable way that gives them a dignified retirement whilst also being fair to them and taxpayers.

"The State Pension is the foundation of income in retirement and will remain so as we delivered a further 8.5 per cent rise last month, increasing the state pension for 12 million pensioners. This has seen the full rate of the new State Pension rise by £900."