Business Pensions

Monday 21 October 2019

One in five State pensioners had payments cut by €50 after being overpaid - new report

Stock photo: Picture posed by models.
Stock photo: Picture posed by models.

Anne-Marie Walsh

ONE in five state pensioners had their payments cut by €50 a week because they were overpaid, a new report has revealed.

A review of 1,000 randomly selected payments examined by the Department of Social Protection found they were being paid excessive amounts.

The overpayments to those on the means-tested non-contributory scheme were worth over 6pc of the value of their payments.

The state’s spending watchdog has found an unacceptable level of irregular social welfare payments in its annual report.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report: “The level of irregular payments found by the department’s control surveys is material”.

The means-tested non-contributory pension scheme had a budget of  €1.02bn last year.

It is paid to those who are over 66 and do not qualify for a state pension or get a reduced one because they have not made enough contributions.

The department’s survey found a much lower level of underpayments than overpayments, according to the report.

Underpayments stood at just over 8pc of claims and those identified as underpaid received an average increase of around €30 a week, plus arrears.

The survey found that 94pc of the incorrect payments happened because the claimants’ means were not correct.

It said the principal cause was a change in their circumstances that they did not report to the department.

In addition, the department had not carried out a review that would have identified this.

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