Third of benefit payments wrong

BENEFITS officials at Civic Centre have been left red-faced today after 4,000 claimants were paid incorrectly.A third of the council's 12,500 benefit claimants have been wrongly paid after software was incorrectly fitted into a new computer.

BENEFITS officials at Civic Centre have been left red-faced today after 4,000 claimants were paid incorrectly.

A third of the council's 12,500 benefit claimants have been wrongly paid after software was incorrectly fitted into a new computer.

A spokesman apologised for the mistake and said staff were working hard to rectify the problem - and hoped to have fixed it by Christmas.

The overwhelming majority of wrongly-paid claims were less than £5 out - and most were about a pound or even just a few pence.

A council spokesman said: “This was down to human error and we are very sorry for any distress caused. We are working flat out to remedy the situation.

He added the problem was caused by a piece of software not being input properly and was unconnected to any other problems surrounding the Pericles software system being introduced to the Benefits department.

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"We are in touch with the software supplier and hope to get a program to reverse these postings within the next few days."

The problem resulted in benefits being both underpaid and overpaid, to both claimants themselves and to landlords.

The spokesman said: “In the general nature of these things we will have more people who have been underpaid than overpaid and we are working hard to rectify that situation.

“We will aim to get back any money that has overpaid as well, but at present we are concentrating on ensuring everyone who has been underpaid gets the money that is owing to them.

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