Am I being short-changed by the State Pension?

Category: News&Retirement

A report claimed thousands of older women have not received their full state pension entitlement.

In a follow-up report, Lane Clark Peacock LLP (LCP) summarizes their findings since then. A vital message is to encourage a much wider group of women to check their state pension is correct.

Dozens of women have told LCP they have received refunds from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The average refund has been just over £9,000, although some have been more than £30,000. LCP estimate DWP has already refunded several million pounds to hundreds of women.

DWP Ministers have urged those who think they are being underpaid to come forward. Their press office says the department is ‘undertaking a check of its records’ to find more cases.

Correspondence with the DWP has disclosed that when men turned 65, DWP used to send two pension claim forms. One was for them and one was for their wife. This was instead of the DWP sending the form directly to the married woman herself. Based on this, it appears the DWP’s check of its records only relates to searches since March 2008. The new report identifies six additional groups who need to contact DWP to request a review of their state pension.

How should be looking at this?

The six identified groups are:

Married women whose husband turned 65 before 17 March 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60% rate (currently £80.45 per week in basic pension)
Widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died
Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, especially if he reached 65 after 17 March 2008
Over 80s who are receiving a basic pension of less than £80.45, provided they satisfy a basic residence test when they turned 80
Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but who was underpaid state pension during her life, especially where her husband turned 65 after 17 March 2008
Divorced women, and particularly those who divorced post-retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband

Anyone in these groups should visit LCP’s calculator.

Commenting, Steve Webb, partner at LCP said:

“It is good news that DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid. I have no doubt that in addition to the millions which have already been refunded, this process will result in tens of millions of pounds being paid over. But this record check must be comprehensive rather than narrow. As things stand, many groups of women, including widows, divorced women and the over 80s will not get a call from the DWP, so they will have to ring up and ask for their state pension to be checked if they think they are being underpaid.

“It would be far more efficient for DWP to do a comprehensive record check, including alerting women who still need to make a claim for an uplift. Without this, this issue will rumble on and on, and women will continue to miss out on the pension that is rightfully theirs”.

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