State pension update as DWP admits 134,000 women underpaid – are you affected?

Martin Lewis advises pensioner on savings accounts

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The National Audit Office (NAO) discovered in July that hundreds of thousands of women had been receiving less state pension than they were entitled to. Today, experts said lessons have been learnt but this will be of “no comfort to the estimated 134,000 pensioners who have been underpaid”.

Officials from the Department for Work and Pensions appeared before the Public Accounts Committee today to discuss the issue of state pension underpayments affecting women collecting their pension before March 2008.

Some women were entitled to an automatic uplift in their state pension when their husbands reached age 65.

However, in many cases this did not happen and women had to actively claim it before the uplift was applied.

It was only in July this year that the NAO discovered that around £134,000 women are thought to have been underpaid.

The errors could have affected married and divorced women as well as those over 80 who were entitled to uplifts in their state pension but didn’t receive them.

Women who were married to a man with a full National Insurance record and got their state pension before March 2008 are being encouraged to check with the DWP whether they have been underpaid.

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said lessons have been learned but this will be little comfort to the 134,000 pensioners who have been underpaid.

She explained: “Today DWP officials said lessons had been learned from the state pension underpayment issue and highlighted its determination to make sure all those affected are paid by the end of 2023.

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She continued: “However, the assertion that state pension underpayments due to official error is only 0.3 percent – much lower than for other benefits – will come as no comfort to the estimated 134,000 pensioners who have been underpaid.”

Ms Morrissey added: “If you think you may have been underpaid you should contact DWP.

“Women on less 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.”

The DWP has confirmed it aims to review and put right all relevant cases by the end of 2023.

The errors primarily affected women, and a small number of men, who should have received additional state pension from their spouse or civil partner’s contributions.

It is thought it could have also affected people over the age of 80 who may be entitled to a rebate.

The money can be repaid if a person gets in touch with the DWP to discuss their individual circumstances.


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Meanwhile, pensioners were left disappointed yesterday as Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to announce any additional measures to help the elderly this winter.

Winter benefit payments are designed to help the most vulnerable in society, including pensioners, get through the colder months.

Experts had hoped that Mr Sunak would potentially increase the winter fuel payment, cold weather payment or the warm homes discount to those on a low income pay their bills.

Ian Browne, retirement planning expert at Quilter said: “The Government’s refusal to increase any of the social security payments for pensioners such as the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payment, or the Warm Homes Discount will come as a huge blow to millions across the UK.”

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