New figures released yesterday show that over 46,000 pensioners received long overdue payments totalling more than £300 million, as the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) starts to address historical errors it made regarding the State Pension.
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The pensionunderpayments are thought to have affected over 230,000 retirees and mostly affected married women who retired before 2016.
State Pension underpayments
Married women who hit state pension age before April 2016, including widows and divorcees should check if they're owed payments. Over 80's, whether they were married or not, should also check with the DWP if they are owed anything.
The historical IT errors are thought to date back for decades but recently 173, 538 accounts were checked for between January 11, 2021 and February 28, 2023 and exactly 46,716 underpayments were identified. This culminated in £300.1million in state pension underpayments being owed back to claimants with widowed retireess being paid an average of £11,521 per case.
Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, says progress will be slow, as per The Sun:
DWP is making progress in dealing with state pension underpayments but there’s a mountain still to climb.
It is clear this is a situation that is not going to be resolved any time soon and in the meantime thousands of pensioners are getting less than what they are entitled to.
How to claim
There is still believed to be over £1 billion of money left to pay of the £1.46 billion owed, so people should check if they are entitled to any. The following groups of people should receive the money automatically, as per Money Saving Expert:
- Women whose husband turned 65 on or after 17 March 2008 and are being paid less than 60% of their husband's basic state pension.
- Widows whose husband died after 17 March 2008 and were paid less than 60% of his state pension while he was alive.
- Widows whose state pension didn't increase when their husband died.
- Women, aged 80+ and, regardless of marital status, isn't being paid at least £85 a week in state pension.
However if you’re in one of the following groups you should pick up the phone and make a claim:
- A woman who got divorced AFTER reaching state pension age, and you haven't had your pension reassessed.
- A woman whose husband turned 65 before 17 March 2008 and you're being paid less than 60% of your husband's basic state pension.
- A married woman who's on ZERO basic state pension, but might be getting a small amount of additional state pension, also known as SERPS, or graduated retirement benefit.
To check if you are owed any backpayments you can contact the Pension Service and ask about your situation:
- Call 0800 731 046
- Request information on behalf of someone who's died through DWP's online tool
- Or write to: The Pension Service Post Handling Site A Wolverhampton WV98 1AF
- The Sun 'CASH HELP Major state pension update as tens of thousands get up to £11,500 each after being underpaid – are you missing out?'
- Money Saving Expert 'Are you one of 100,000+ women missing out on £1,000s of state pension?'