Equitable Life pensioners on low incomes have received an average payment of around £300 from the government in time for Christmas.
These payments deliver on the commitment the government made at the 2015 Summer Budget to double the payments to Equitable Life policyholders who receive pension credit, and who have only received a part payment under the Equitable Life payment scheme.
In the Summer Budget the government committed to make these payments in early 2016.
The government has been able to fast-track this process and make these payments ahead of schedule, just before Christmas.
The government set up the scheme in 2011 to make to make fair and transparent payments to policyholders who suffered financial losses as a result of government maladministration which occurred in the regulation of Equitable Life.
The Equitable Life Payment Scheme has so far paid out over £1bn to over 920,000 people. This represents almost 90% of eligible policyholders, and 93% of the money due.
The total amount paid was over £2 million to 7,000 pensioners.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said:
The government has now traced over 920,000 Equitable Life policy holders and is making life-time payments to all with-profit annuitants.
And today I can announce that we have gone even further, doubling the payments we’ve made to non with-profit annuitants on low incomes.
I’m delighted that we have been able to make these payments ahead of schedule, and provide a welcome boost before Christmas.
The scheme has made major efforts to trace policyholders, including extensive electronic tracing methods, writing to policyholders’ last known addresses, working with other government departments and liaising with group scheme trustees.
The Department of Work and Pensions has also sent letters to all untraced policyholders due £50 or more for whom the scheme holds a National Insurance number and other details, such as their name.
As the Chancellor announced in this year’s Summer Budget, the scheme will be closing to new claims on 31 December 2015.
Any policyholders who still believe themselves to be eligible are encouraged to call the scheme on 0300 0200 150 before 31st December 2015. The scheme can verify the identity of most policyholders on the telephone, which means any payment due can usually be received within 2 weeks.
Image by Shimelle Laine on Flickr. Used under creative commons.