Grandmother left with no income for months backs campaigners calls to tackle 'inexcusable' pension delays
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Joyce Bryce, 66, has spoken of her shock over the ongoing fight to get her state pension after having first put in a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in July.
It comes as campaigners issued renewed calls to resolve ‘long and unusual’ delays in payments of state pension leaving new pensioners without a safety net.
The DWP admitted last month that the pandemic and staffing issues had caused backlogs in payments to those reaching the age of 66. It is understood that the number of pensioners waiting on payments is more than 1,100 across the country.
Ms Bryce, a former dental nurse from Leith, said she has been left to fend for herself with no income since her last Universal Credit payment in June.
She said: “You’re supposed to get a letter four months before a pension is due to start but I never got one. Since I put in the application for the pension as a new claimant, I got a text in August saying they got my details and not to contact them. They would get in touch if they needed any more details. But come August I’d heard nothing. So I called and was told it could be be another eight to 10 weeks before I got my first payment, because of some glitch in the system. I was ready to scream I was so frustrated.”
She added that, after having been furloughed, she was made redundant and had to rely on Universal Credit payments. But these stopped in July.
"Probably the system automatically stops that because I’m due a pension now but I’ve not had a penny coming in,” she said.
"But I still have bills to pay and food to buy. It’s so stressful, every day I look at my bank account and think what am I going to do. I did have savings but they have dwindled away now. I’ve had to get the begging bowl out to family just to get by.”
Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said the charity had received calls from older people experiencing long waits to receive their first payment.
“For many, they were left with no other means of income and face considerable challenges paying their bills, burning through savings if they have them and relying on family or crisis loans from their council just to get by,” he said.
“This is an unacceptable position for them to face. Leaving someone without a safety net or source of income for months on end is simply inexcusable.”
He added: “We’ve had constructive discussions with the pensions service about this issue in recent weeks and understand more about the challenges and resolutions being put in place, but we will raise new cases with them.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We are sorry that some new State Pension customers have faced delays receiving their payments and have worked hard to put this right, with a only a small number of outstanding claims expected to be paid by the end of the month.
“We have deployed extra resources to prioritise processing this caseload, and any claims made today should not be subject to delay.”