Age Concern has accused the Government of double standards over the way it is tackling the widows' pensions fiasco.
The charity is concerned that while the Government is forcing life offices and IFAs to maintain high levels of service to policyholders in the pension review, it is failing to offer the same standards to pen- sioners who will lose out over the halving of Serps payments to widows and widowers.
Under the provisions of the pension misselling review, the DSS and FSA require providers to “exhaust every avenue” in attempting to contact policyholders who may have been missold pensions. They are also required to write follow-up letters to policyholders to ensure they are aware of the situation and must keep them informed of developments on their case every “couple of months”.
By contrast, the Government does not have to directly contact pensioners who may have been affected by the Serps scandal. The onus is on individuals to make contact with the Government if they believe they have been adversely affected by the changes
Last week, Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling claimed it is not the Government's fault that it does not have the addresses of more than a third of those potentially affected – as many as 6.7 million people.
A DSS spokesman says: “Consultations are still going on. There will be a big publicity campaign late next year. There is a big difference between informing members of a private pension plan and contacting 20 million people.”
Age Concern spokeswoman Rhian Beynon says: “It is high time the DSS accepts its responsibility about changes in its legislation that will affect changes in their pension. It is particularly important in light of the new second pension if people are to have any trust in it.”
What life offices must do in pension MISSELLING review
Exhaust every avenue in attempting to contact clients who may have been missold pensions
Write follow-up letter to ensure policyholders are aware of any changes to their scheme
Maintain an up-to-date list of policyholders with contact details
What Govt SAYS about ITS DUTIES in Serps FIASCO
Does not have to inform public when it makes changes to legislation
Does not have to write to those potentially affected by scandal to inform them of changes to the scheme
Does not have to maintain a list of up-to-date addresses of people potentially affected by the changes