REVEALED: DWP complaints from WASPI women will take ’20 years to clear’
An investigation by Ged Killen MP into the handling of complaints by WASPI women to the DWP has revealed huge delays and understaffing.
The average response time for each complaint is now three months from the initial contact date - with an average of 10 new complaints being received every day. With over 2200 outstanding complaints, at the current rate it would take twenty years just to clear the backlog. Since the service was established back in October 2017, only 44 investigation reports have been issued back to complainants.
Despite the grindingly slow response time and the volume of work, the DWP have only three staff handling complaints. When Ged Killen asked the Minister Kit Malthouse MP whether they were planning to hire extra staff or seek additional funding, he replied: “there are no plans to seek additional funding or appoint more investigation staff to consider this group of complaints.”
The WASPI Women - women born in the 1950s who have seen their pension eligibility age moved without any prior warning or extra funding - have been fighting an uphill battle for justice. They are not asking for the retirement age to be reverted back to sixty, merely that a non-means tested income allowance is provided by the Government to bridge the gap until state pension eligibility. Their complaints have so far fallen on deaf ears.
In response to the answers from the Government, Ged Killen said, “the Government has seriously underestimated the scale of the problem incurred by their reforms to the equalisation of the state pension age.”
“The snail’s pace at which the Government is processing complaints by WASPI women means that some women may have to wait longer to get a response to a complaint than they would have to wait to receive their actual pension”.
“Once again the Government has shown its willingness to legislate without taking full account of the human cost. WASPI women already face huge disruption to their future financial plans. The Government should at the very least provide a maximum waiting time so that WASPI women are not required to wait, wait and wait when they complain. The Department for Work and pensions have however refused them even that courtesy”
“It was the Government’s approach to the equalisation of the state pension age which has inflicted financial uncertainty on WASPI women. There is a responsibility here for the Government to explain itself to these women. Forcing them to wait for months or years for a reply is nothing short of scandalous.”