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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

Pension Credit Processing Delays

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ar-chik1
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Salford Welfare Rights

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We are seeing huge delays & will be issuing letters of complaint imminently. Our clients have been waiting since March but judging by the responses here it doesn’t appear like it will be resolved any time soon!

ar-chik1
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Salford Welfare Rights

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Further to my last comment, here is a complaint letter template we are using. Feel free to use.

File Attachments

Dan Manville
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Greater Manchester Law Centre

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Dan Manville - 06 September 2022 11:21 AM

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/1607.html

might come in handy here

The delays in the specific individual cases was found to be unlawful but in both cases, awards had also been made by the time of the hearing. As such, not entirely sure how useful this decision is as the judge is explicit that:

141. It would be inappropriate to grant a declaration in wider terms because of the considerable variations in individual circumstances. I do not think it is the role of the Court to give guidance in a situation which has been evolving and with which the defendant now appears to be grappling in a way which is entirely appropriate. Further, as I have recognised above, the situation has changed and continues to change over time.

142. The claimants seek a notional monetary award for the distress that they have suffered as a result of the delay. As it is agreed that there is no private law right to damages for distress, which is the only ground upon which the claimants have succeeded, I do not think it is appropriate to express any view about what would have just satisfaction under grounds of claim which have failed. Although mandatory orders were sought initially by the claimants sensibly, those have not been pursued at the hearing.

143. In the circumstances the claim succeeds on ground one to the extent set out above. The claim fails on the other grounds.

In the cases, the delays were nearly a year in both. Of course, someone can still issue a letter before action if they are experiencing delays with PC decision making but this case doesn’t set a precedent to say they’ll necessarily succeed in that action.

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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Has anyone tried asking for a short-term benefit advance for PC claimants waiting for their claims to be processed?

One of the criteria for STBA is that the DM considers it likely that you are entitled; I have a third party national with ILR and I have a feeling that he won’t be able to get an advance as they will need to see his ID docs to confirm his immigration status: any thoughts or experiences asking for the STBA from PC?

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Interesting idea but likely hamstrung by the sheer lack of administrative processes to get it in front of a decision maker. It remains a source of astonishment to me that at this point what’s going down with the Pension Service is not a national media story. From the outside it appears to be HMRC when they were at their basket case peak.

Paul Stockton
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Epping Forest CAB

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Our latest “DWP Partnerships Essex Monthly Stakeholder
Bulletin” says this:

“DWP deals with influx of Pension Credit claims
Following the success of DWP’s campaign to increase take-up
of Pension Credit, the service has received an unprecedented
number of claims. Additional resources are being deployed to
ensure claims are dealt with as quickly as possible. Once an

application has been received claim decisions will be sent out
in the post within 6 weeks. People can be reassured
successful claims will be backdated to the date the application
was made. It is important those who are entitled do not miss
out. Pensioners can check their eligibility on GOV.UK(link is
external) and DWP urges anyone who believes they may be
eligible for Pension Credit to make a claim.”

Decisions in 6 weeks? That doesn’t seem to be the general experience.

Mike Hughes
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Nothing like. We have zero capital/SRP only claims sitting at the 6 month mark. The attempt to pin it on take-up campaigns is reprehensible in my view. An absolute denial of the reality.

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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Completely agree with you,Mike. Blaming the current situation on the success of their campaign to improve take up. Numerous threads here (and on other public forums) attest to there being long delays prior to the campaign. It also begs the question of why additional resources were not put in place in advance to deal with an expected increase in claims in response to the campaign.

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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Has anyone successfully used a judicial review pre-action letter to get a new PC claim in payment?
TIA

SarahBatty
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Durham Welfare Rights

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So the latest in the saga of the massive PC processing delays is that we have at least 4 cases where a PC claim has been ‘terminated’ without any decision notice being sent out or with any reason.

And at least one instance of the Pensions Service phoning a person to see if they still wanted their claim to go ahead because it had been so long since it had been submitted, and when the person phoned the PS helpline back they helpline couldn’t help and told them to just wait and see if they received another call.

Eh? Just decide the claims and send out a decision notice?
Or a written request for further info if it is required?

Anyone else experiencing instances of PC claims being ‘closed’ with no notification or explanation?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Very similar experiences being reported across our network Sarah. We had a case couple of weeks back where client wrote to Pension Service in June saying they wanted to know if they could claim PC but didn’t have a computer to apply. Pension Service confirm they have this letter. No response sent.

At end of July client called claim line to chase letter. Spoke to agent, call lasted 25 minutes and client gave all details needed for ‘claim’. Agent advised she was entitled to PC and tried twice to put them through to ‘next level’ but wasn’t able to get through. Told client to expect a call back in 24 hours and gave a reference. Client asked why they needed this and was told it was so they ‘didn’t have to go through all these details again’. Also told that if did not get call back to call again next week.

Next week, client tried calling back but could not get through. Three days later. client called and spoke to another agent. Told that they would call back in 48 hours and if nothing heard to call again.

Two weeks’ later, client had not heard anything so called again. Told to expect a call back and if nothing heard to call again.

Three weeks’ later, client called again. Told to expect a call back in 48 hours. Did not receive this.

Week after this, client called again. Spoke to ‘third agent’ and told them that they were really struggling with money now and needed PC claim processed. Was given a number for the Salvation Army and told that things were taking a long time to process.

Client sent another letter following this call, 1st class, complaining about delays and stating they needed claim processed urgently. No response received. Finally came to see one of our local advisers and we put them in contact with Pension Service officials in October who finally managed to sort out the claim.

It’s absolutely farcical how bad the current administration is, and this is particularly so when they’ve just done another round of promotional activity about claiming pensions and maximising income.

Gareth Morgan
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CEO, Ferret, Cardiff

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Just had the following:

Dear stakeholder

In recent months and following the successful launch of DWP’s campaign to increase take-up of Pension Credit, we have received an unprecedented number of claims. Additional resources are being deployed to ensure we deal with the increase as quickly as possible, while successful claims and arrears will be backdated and paid accordingly, to ensure those who are entitled do not miss out. We are still urging people who think they may be eligible for the benefit, to make a Pension Credit claim and they will not lose out on any period to which they are entitled.

In turn this may mean you may see more enquiries come to you, enquiring the progress of Pension Credit customer claims.

We recognise this and have looked at our internal model in Pension Credit to ensure we provide responses, as quickly as possible. To support this, we have now set up a centralised team to deal with all escalated enquiries into the Pension Credit service, whether this relates to a new claim or change of circumstance. The team already manage all MP and G4S escalated enquiries received. We ask all stakeholders to consider the following –

Customers and external organisations supporting a customer should continue to use the routes into the service published on GOV.UK and our external telephone numbers Contact the Pension Service - GOV.UK (http://www.gov.uk).

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Thanks Gareth, I would love to know what these escalation routes they speak of are, because there aren’t any official channels to escalate cases that we’re aware of.

Mike Hughes
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I’ll echo that Paul. What escalation routes? They were thoroughly shut down years ago.