Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has blasted Minister’s assurance that the Department of Work and Pension’s backlog of new State Pension claims – which has resulted in people not yet receiving their State Pension – will be sorted “as soon as possible” as “cold comfort” to those recipients most in need of the money.
After concerned constituents got in touch, Alex, a former Shadow Pensions Minister, put down a Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) asking the Work and Pensions Secretary “when the delays in processing state pension applications will be resolved”.
In response Pensions Minster Guy Opperman provided the following:
“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.”
Responding to the Minister’s answer Alex said:
“The Minister casually states that “claimants don’t need to act”. They do, however, need to eat, and telling them his department is aiming to clear their backlog within the next few weeks is cold comfort to people who will rely on that money to put food on their table now. The Government needs to support claimants with emergency payments while they deal with their backlog, not simply tell them that their State Pension will arrive ‘as soon as possible’.”