Why are a lot of adjustments to pensions being made by Civil Service Pensions?
A major internal review conducted from 2016 identified around 13,000 cases where pensions in payment have been changed. In the majority of cases pension has been increased but in more than 2,000 cases pension has been reduced. The administrator MyCSP has issued letters in these cases which request immediate repayment of a claimed overpayment. These letters are headed Civil Service Pension Benefits Re: change to your benefit entitlement and include a reference to, “further information from your employer”.
What has triggered this exercise?
Civil Service Pensions has told us that triggers for reviewing cases when new information was received from an employer were not actioned by the pension administrator at the right time. The failure continued for several years. The PCS view is that failure to process known information in this way amounts to maladministration and we have put it to Civil Service Pensions that a write-off is appropriate as it was for Guaranteed Minimum Pension rectification. This has not been agreed but discussions continue.
I have received a letter what should I do?
PCS advice to recipients of these letters is to reply to the pension administrator via firstname.lastname@example.org to acknowledge the letter and request sufficient information to check that the recalculation is correct and that the claimed overpayment is valid. Cases where the recalculation is not correct have already come to light.
As the trigger for recalculating is related to further information from the employer it is also important to ask when the information was received. When you have received a reply from the case worker at MyCSP you will need to decide if the recalculation is valid and if it was carried out within a reasonable time. If you believe either that the recalculation is wrong or that the issue is one of maladministration you should contact MyCSP to make clear that you dispute the action they have taken. You must ask that your case is dealt with under Stage 1 of the Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) process.
I am being pressed to repay, what should I do?
Unless you wish to agree repayment you need to make clear that you do not agree to repay or to set off any of the amount claimed against your pension in payment. If your case is already under IDR you should not be pressed to do this. You are not obliged to complete a statement of your financial means.
If your IDR Stage 1 case is rejected
You may be offered a compensation payment but still be asked to repay. Unless you accept this you should immediately set out your response and submit it under Stage 2 of IDR. If Stage 2 also fails to resolve your case you should consider taking it to the Pensions Ombudsman.
The ombudsman’s decision is legally binding.