With 2019 Basic Payment Scheme funds starting to land in bank accounts, farmers are being advised to check that they have been paid the full amount owed.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is prone to making errors, according to rural professional service McCartneys.
It is therefore crucial that farmers check that the eligible land area and entitlements detailed on the claim statement marry-up with what was submitted on their 2019 BPS claim form.
“This is particularly important for those who have made changes to their claim form as a result of either buying or selling land, or purchasing extra entitlements,” Beth Hanson, rural professional at McCartneys says.
“Farmers are paid on the basis of one entitlement for every hectare of eligible land and it’s not uncommon for the RPA to miss additional land entitlements not previously claimed for.”
She says that even if your claim has not altered, don’t assume you have been correctly paid.
“We’ve dealt with instances where farmers have been underpaid despite there being no changes for several years, so it’s always worthwhile double checking that you’ve received your full payment.
“If you think there’s a discrepancy, you need to report this to the RPA straightaway by filling out a payments query form.
“Within this, you’ll be required to supply details on why you believe your BPS payment is wrong, including any supporting evidence.”
The claim statement is not always simple to understand and the process of contacting the RPA often arduous, Miss Hanson says.
The official payment window runs from the 1 December 2019 until the 30 June 2020, with the majority of payments expected to be made by the end of December.
During this time farmers need to be vigilant of fraudsters, Miss Hanson explains.
“Scammers have become aware of payment timings and use the opportunity to specifically target individuals.
“Be wary about who you communicate with and remember, the RPA would never ask for bank details or passwords over the phone or email.”