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Data error causes €3m overpayment headache for ABP

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Dutch civil service scheme ABP has admitted it was too hasty in its efforts to reclaim €3m of overpayments it had wrongfully made to 700 pensioners.

The €407bn pension fund said it would keep paying the benefits for a couple of months while it consulted the pensioners involved about arrangements for paying back the money.

ABP paid a non-compulsory additional pension to retirees with a younger partner on low income, based on data provided by social security body SVB.

However, after the SVB informed ABP at the end of last year that it had issued incorrect data between December 2013 and May 2015, the civil service scheme wrote to the pensioners informing them that they had to return the surplus benefits, while offering repayment arrangements for up to six years.

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The amounts involved ranged from a couple of dozen euros to more than €10,000 in a few cases.

In 150 cases, however, ABP ceased the wrongful additional payments immediately.

The issue was first publicised by Omroep MAX, a Dutch broadcaster aimed at people aged over 50. 

After Omroep MAX took up the case, ABP admitted that it had been too hasty. Payments would continue until May, it said, and pensioners would be approached by phone about how they wished to resolve the issue.

Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democrats (CDA), told Omroep MAX he would ask social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees to what extent ABP was entitled to reclaim benefits, and what rights pensioners could derive from the amounts on their pensions statement.

Meanwhile, as a consequence of the SVB’s mistake, a further 300 pensioners are to receive additional payments totalling €70,000 from ABP.

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