Women missing out on state pension

Thousands of women are thought to have been underpaid the state pension, thanks to a rule change in 2008 and computer errors.

8 October 2021

Who is affected?

Those affected are married women (including widows and divorcees) who reached state pension age (SPA) before April 2016 and who qualify for the basic state pension.

What are they entitled to?

This cohort of women is entitled to 60% of the basic state pension their husband gets at SPA, but before March 2008 they had to make a claim to receive it.

Why are so many women in the dark?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says it wrote to women whose husbands reached SPA (then 65) before this date to alert them of this option, but many say they never received such a letter.

For women whose husbands reached SPA after March 2008, the DWP’s computer systems should have automatically boosted their state pension payments to the 60% sum. However, many women have said that didn’t happen.

For women whose husbands reached SPA after March 2008, the DWP says it has backdated missing payments all the way to 2008. Unfortunately, claims by those falling into the pre-2008 group will be treated as a ‘new claim’ for a pension and therefore backdated by just one year.

What to do if you have been underpaid

To check if you have been underpaid and are owed state pension payments, contact the Pension Service on tel 0800 731 0469 or go to their website. 

Can we help?

Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary. If you would like advice, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact or one of the specialists shown on this page.

Copyright © Shipleys LLP 2021

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