The oversight came to light as part of the National Fraud Initiative co-ordinated by the Audit Commission. All that was required was to put information about pensioners into a data-matching system with material from the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. A report to Parliament revealed: ‘This exercise identified 333 cases of deceased pensioners whose representatives failed to notify the death and pensions therefore continued to be paid.’ Resulting overpayments amounted to £1.5 million and the annual savings resulting from the discovery will amount to £500,000 per year. Some £800,000 has already been recovered, according to the Cabinet Office Appropriation Accounts, and the remainder is being ‘pursued’ by officials. The accounts also detailed continuing problems resulting from the National Insurance Recording System saga, with the overpayment of pensions to low-paid civil servants also in receipt of incapacity benefit and who became entitled to Guaranteed Minimum Pension. The National Insurance Contributions Office failed to provide information about entitlement to GMP to public service pension schemes to stop up-rating that element of the pension, resulting in both the scheme and the DSS paying the up-rating. The department fears more overpayments were made to a larger group of Civil Service pensioners who will continue to receive double payments until GMP notifications are available from the NICO.
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