Emergency services pension scandal

Recent reports show that thousands of retired emergency service workers, who were left out of pocket, have been grossly underpaid by the Pension Ombudsman. This was as a result of a lucrative Government scandal that was exposed, leaving them with a hefty £550 million bill in order to serve justice to those affected. One case in particular of this process of redemption against the Government is 59 year old Mr Milne, who settles with his wife Jane in the Scottish Highlands.

Milne’s service to the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service in Glasgow, stretched over a period of 31 years. Within this case, the miscalculation created unnecessary financial loss for the grandfather of three, and also precious time after taking on the case in 2010. Having experienced strategic government delaying, Milne was left out of pocket and a victim of injustice for longer than expected; his complaint not being upheld until May 2015.

Suspicion arose when he saw his pension decrease by over £7000 in 2005, whereas other firefighters and police officers who retired after 2006, had accumulated greater sums of cash. After noticing this, the Fire Brigades Union took on Milne’s case, finding the revision of the commutations long overdue.  The fault is said to lie with the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD), as their negligence of the subject in 2004, and also three years prior, left them failing to comply with a scheduled update and using the guidelines set out in 1998.

Mr Milne has stated that once he realised the pension he received in comparison to the 2006 retirees was an error, he felt feelings of betrayal and defraud.

Milne was recently granted a fee within the region of £30,000 plus £6000 interest, as a result of a Government miscommunication, along with many other ex-colleagues who were also due a payout.

This particular case has revealed the reality of the Government scandal and exposed the subject to others who are a victim of the injustice. It is reported that approximately 5,000 firefighters and 29,000 police officers are eligible for payment, in which £94 million goes to the ex- firefighters, and £460 million to the ex-police officers.

Tony Kingsman, the Pension Ombudsman at the time, stated that all service people who retired between 2001 and 2005 are all eligible for a payout. Other social figureheads are also raising awareness and pressing for early payment; Clint Elliot of the National Association of Retired Police Officers being the driving force behind this.

Have any of your clients been affected by this scandal? Do you ensure your clients regularly check their pensions and investments for errors or miscommunication?

Please let us know of any similar cases and your thoughts on the issue, in the comments section below.

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