Dozens of Post Office managers who faced losing out on compensation after being falsely accused of fraud have been told that they will now be in line for payments after a report by the Guardian.
Nearly 200 postmasters and mistresses had been told they may be disqualified from a scheme to compensate those forced to pay sums of up to five figures after faulty software wrongly showed shortfalls in their accounts.
The Historical Shortfall Scheme was launched by the Post Office in 2020 after a 20-year legal battle by victims, and claimants were given three months to apply. At least 170 missed the deadline. Many of them had been unaware of the scheme.
Vivien Hammond, 87, was told that she was too late when she tried to claim last on behalf of her late husband, whose wages had been docked to make up an erroneous shortfall. “We were never informed of a compensation scheme for those who paid what was demanded without being convicted,” she said.
“I wrote to the Post Office for information but I never got a reply, and when I consulted a solicitor they told me I should have applied in 2020. As my husband was dying of cancer in 2020, my attention was elsewhere.”
When the Guardian contacted the Post office about Hammond’s case, it said it was reviewing whether to honour late claims. It refused to state how long it expected this to take.
It has now announced that late claims will be processed.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “Compensation offers have been made to almost two-thirds of the 2,368 eligible applicants in the Historical Shortfall Scheme, with the majority of those already paid, and we will make sure that full and fair redress is made for postmasters who have come forward since the scheme closed to new applications.”