Retired civil servants hit after pension overpayments

19 Mar 19

Retired civil servants will have their pensions cut by up to £700 per year after mistaken payments were made over several years.

The Financial Times has reported that around 36,000 retired civil servants have been sent letters warning them that they will have their pension payments cut after historical overpayments were discovered.

The erroneous payments made by Civil Service Pensions ranged between £5 and £14 per week between 1978 and 1997, and were discovered during an exercise aimed at reconciling pension information with records held by HMRC.

Letters seen by the FT said: “We appreciate that the overpayment of your pension may cause you some concern and apologise for any inconvenience caused. In recognition of the fact that the overpayment is not your fault and that you could not have known you were receiving an incorrect amount, you will not need to repay the money.”

“We hope that you will appreciate that we cannot continue to pay you more than you are entitled to receive and as a result, we have adjusted your monthly income.”

In a statement to the FT the Cabinet Office said: “We apologies for the inconvenience and are working to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

While there were some underpayments, the majority of incorrect payments were too high, according to the FT.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect, the civil service union, told the FT: “The decision to write off past overpayments is the right one but there is no reason why amounts in payment couldn’t have been frozen until caught by the corrected level, or for adjustments to be made when annual pension increases are due to minimise the impact on members.”

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