An analysis by Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP) has revealed that “tens of thousands” of married older women could be missing out on £100m in state pension uplifts. Express.co.uk explains how to check if you are being underpaid on your State Pension.
According to Which? the scandal affects women who were married and reached State Pension age before April 2016, and who can claim the basic state pension.
These women are entitled to 60 percent of the basic state pension that their husband gets at State Pension age.
The DWP’s computer system should have boosted their State Pension payments to the 60 percent sum automatically, but many women said that this was not the case and have complained to the DWP.
Under this old system each individual in a couple could save up for a pension in their own right.
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This means in theory that each member of a married couple could earn a full state pension.
You should be receiving the married woman’s rate of at least £80.45 a week.
Former pensions minister Steve Webb revealed last Saturday that about 130,000 women may be currently underpaid on their State Pensions.
The LCP investigation identified two groups of women who may have been underpaid on their pensions.
The first group of women affected may have had gaps in the National Insurance record, or had paid a reduced ‘married woman’s stamp’ and so had a very limited pension of their own.
Which? says the women affected will have been born before 6 April 1953 and are most likely to be widows, married or divorced women and those aged over 80.
Widows could even substitute their late husband’s National Insurance for their own, meaning they get 100 percent of the basic State Pension if their late husband had a full record.
If you were divorced when you reached State Pension age, you can still substitute your ex-husbands National Insurance record for your own, up until the point of your legal split.
If you were divorced later in life, you may be able to qualify for a full basic state pension.
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Which? explains that the second group of women who have been affected are those whose husbands reached 65 before March 2008.
Until March 2008, a married, divorced or widowed woman would have to make a claim to receive this enhanced pension.
If your husband reached State Pension age after March 2008, the DWP’s computer system should have automatically boosted your pension payment to the 60 percent rate.
The DWP claims it sent letters to these women to alert them of this option but many women say they did not receive them.
On the subject, the DWP 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.”
Is your State Pension being underpaid?
LCP has created a calculator to identify if you are eligible to claim more on your pension.
All you need is a few details about your husband, or ex-husband, and yourself.
You need to enter details about when you were born, whether your husband is over State Pension age, and how much basic state pension you and your husband or ex husband currently receive.
The result will give you an indication of whether you are receiving less than you should be.
Contact the government’s Pension Service if you have any questions or concerns.
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