State pension alert: Thousands owed £8,900 in DWP underpayments – how to claim
Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Some 134,000 pensioners across the UK were underpaid in their state pension amounts by an estimated £1billion, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). These underpayments reportedly came about from years of systemic issues originating within the DWP. Around 94,000 of those who were affected by the underpayment mistake are said to be alive, which means that 40,000 could have died before receiving their full state pension.
According to the DWP, underpayment amounts range from £0.01 to £128,448.37, with the earliest going back to 1985.
On average, those who are expected compensation from the DWP are owed around £8,900 in state pension underpayments.
The DWP has said it will contact everyone who has been affected by this issue, however there is no set timescale for this.
Anyone who believes they have been underpaid are encouraged to contact the DWP as soon as possible.
Women who earn more than £82 per week, who are or were married to men who have a full National Insurance record and started receiving their state pension before March 2008, should get in touch with the Pension Service.
The easiest way to put forward a state pension underpayment claim is by calling the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469.
Tom Selby, Head of Retirement Policy at AJ Bell, highlighted how this mistake from DWP has impacted pensioners up and down the country.
Mr Selby said: “The fact pensioners, some of whom will have been struggling to make ends meet, have been underpaid state pensions to the tune of £1billion is nothing short of a national scandal.
“Tragically, of the 134,000 people underpaid by an average of £8,900 each, around 40,000 are estimated to have died before being compensated.
“Furthermore, those lucky enough to still be with us may have been living in penury when they should have been enjoying their retirement.
“The 94,000 people still alive who are owed money by the DWP need to get it back as soon as possible.
“They also deserve answers about how this was allowed to happen over such a long period of time.
“Once compensation has been paid, the Government needs to undertake a comprehensive review of its processes to ensure these mistakes are never repeated.
“Trust in pensions is fragile at the best of times and failures such as this will not help.
“Sadly, it will likely take years, if not decades, to rebuild the confidence lost as a result of this scandal.”
Andrew Megson, the Executive Chairman of My Pension Expert, said: “This has to be a wake up call for the Government, as well as the entire pension sector.
“Both parties have been complicit in allowing layer upon layer of regulation to isolate consumers from their pension, which we all know has led to a widening pension engagement gap — recent research from My Pension Expert found that 46 percent of UK pension holders had not checked on their retirement finances within the previous 12 months.
“As such, pensioners are ill-equipped to understand the complex systems and, more importantly, where mistakes have been made, and we see major mistakes going unnoticed before it’s too late.
“I urge the Government to commit to an interrogative and transparent audit of the state of UK pensions, as well as the processes of the DWP.
“Doing so will enable it to understand how legislation and processes can be simplified — not to mention develop a plan to implement positive and sustainable change. Only then will they be able to restore confidence in the pension system.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asking for comment.
Source: Read Full Article