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DWP staff &#39daunted&#39 by pension credit

The Department for Work and Pensions is struggling to implement the pension credit benefit system because of its complexity. It cannot even come up with a script for call centre staff.

MPs on the work and pensions select committee questioned the DWP&#39s Pension Service chief executive Alexis Cleveland last week over how the department was going to deliver the pension credit, saying the DWP staff they had spoken to were “seriously daunted by the technical detail of the credit”.

The Pension Service was created in April last year as a sub-division of the DWP to take over the delivery of state pension benefits to 11 million people. It has been setting up regional call centres as its main method of delivery but is finding the pension credit difficult to implement.

Call-centre staff can check eligibility for the minimum income guarantee with four key questions. However, the pension credit is so complicated pensioners will have to answer a minimum of 12 questions before benefits can be assessed.

The select committee raised concerns that the income support system, which it described as “decrepit”, will be responsible for paying pension credit benefits to five million people.

Cleveland said: “We have a challenge in implementing the pension credit. It is the biggest that we face over the next two years. We are doing detailed work to keep the process as simple as possible.”

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