SWD fails to process pension cases of 3000 for last one year

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Aug 26: The Department of Social Welfare has stopped the pension of over 3000 beneficiaries under the Integrated Social Security Scheme for the last one year owing to its failure to process their cases.
The Centrally funded scheme provides social security pension to senior citizens, widows, and physically challenged persons of Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of downtrodden beneficiaries in the Valley have not received the monthly pension of Rs 1000 for last one year after the department asked them to send fresh details to make sure continuity of pension. The stopping of the pension amid the pandemic has made it hard for them to survive.
While the department successfully processed majority of the cases, an inordinate delay in the pending cases has left over 3000 people in the lurch. They stopped the pensions, as per the department, after vital information comprising account numbers were found wrong or missing.
The beneficiaries said even after submitting the details multiple times at the concerned district offices; the department has not released their pensions. The beneficiaries said the unjust treatment at the hands of district officers has prevented them to visit these offices and they have given up hope. “I have been getting a pension for last 15-20 years and encountered no trouble. My pension was stopped in March last year,” Javeed Ahmad, a person who has 90 percent disability in both legs, said.
Upon inquiring, he said, he was told to give the details at the district office. “I deposited the documents twice, but nothing happened. I visited the office numerous times but was given false promises. The office is on the second floor of the building. It is tough for me to climb the stairs,” he said.
President, Disability Association Kashmir, Shabir Ahmad, held department’s careless attitude responsible for withholding their cases. “After the department asked for details, the beneficiaries deposited the details at concerned district offices where the officers filled the details with no verification. The problems are with their bank details. Without account details how can the department release pension, they are taking a long time to tackle the issue,” he said, adding that they had raised the issue with their Director who assured resolution of issues.
The issue emerged after Government approved the department to disburse the money itself. Till January this year, the financial services were outsourced to a company named CDAC. “Since the company was irresponsive we started the job of correcting and authenticating the details ourselves. So far, we have been successful in processing more than half of the cases. But COVID 19 pandemic has delayed the process as three of our district officers have tested positive,” Rukhsana Gani Director of the Social Welfare said, adding the money is lying with the department and it would disburse it once details get fixed.
The pensioners, however, lamented that the officials at their respective districts take them for a ride as they lack the seriousness towards their duty. “Since my pension stopped last year, I have been running from pillar to post. First I visited the Khanyar officer where officers directed me to visit the Bemina office saying that my details are not available in the office. An officer at Bemina office did not find my details either. He told me to visit Khanyar again. This has been happening for last one year,” a beneficiary said, adding even the Directorate is helpless.
An official at the department said if the department does not process the cases on time it would force the Directorate to return the money back to the Government. “The problem lies with the district offices, they are not taking things seriously. The Directorate is pursuing the district officers to give details as soon as possible, but they are taking time,” he said.


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