Women urged to claim ‘millions’ in underpaid pensions

10 Aug 2020

Women are being urged to check their state pension by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as they could be owed outstanding monies in underpayments from the DWP.

Women affected by the underpayment issue will have been born before 6 April 1953, qualify for the basic, or old, state pension and will be receiving less than £80.45 a week at the moment.

Under the old state pension system, women were allowed to claim a pension that was worth 60 per cent of the full rate of £134.25 – £80.45 – based on their husband or civil partner’s contributions when he reached state pension age.

Women whose husbands reached that age before 17 March 2008 had to actively claim the higher rate where this would be greater than the pension they would receive based on their own contributions. If they did not do so at the time, they are only entitled to 12 months’ of backdated payments. For women with husbands who reached the state pension age after that date, the Government should have automatically updated their pension – but that has not always happened.

DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid, but many groups of women, including widows, divorced women and the over 80s may not get a call from the DWP, so they will have to contact DWP and ask for their state pension to be checked if they think they are being underpaid.

A DWP spokesperson says: ‘We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid State Pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.

‘We are checking for further cases, and if any are found awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid.’

The DWP encourages anyone who thinks they have failed to claim a state pension increase they are eligible for to contact the department.

The DWP says that ‘interest and consolatory payments’ will be considered on a case-by-case basis and depend on individual circumstances.

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