The call for tens of thousands of women to check their state pension comes in a new follow-up report published today by pensions specialists Lane Clark & Peacock LLP (LCP). The original paper, entitled “Are tens of thousands of older women being underpaid state pension?”, was published two months ago, with more than 160,000 people visiting the LCP website calculator so far, and millions of pounds having been refunded to some of those affected.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is asking individuals to come forward if they think they have been underpaid.
And now, the DWP is set to “check their records” for more cases.
LCP said that based on DWP replies, it seems that the Department’s “check” of its records relates to a search of “post March 2008” married women.
The follow-up paper to the report entitled “Under-paid state pensions – what have we learned and what should happen next?” aims to encourage a much wider group of women to come forward to get their state pension checked.
Commenting, Steve Webb, partner at LCP said: “It is good news that DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid.
“I have no doubt that in addition to the millions which have already been refunded, this process will result in tens of millions of pounds being paid over.
“But this record check must be comprehensive rather than narrow.
“As things stand, many groups of women, including widows, divorced women and the over 80s will not get a call from the DWP, so they will have to ring up and ask for their state pension to be checked if they think they are being underpaid.
“It would be far more efficient for DWP to do a comprehensive record check, including alerting women who still need to make a claim for an uplift.
“Without this, this issue will rumble on and on, and women will continue to miss out on the pension that is rightfully theirs.”
Since the original report was published, LCP has seen more than 160,000 people visit its calculator website on the issue, and several million pounds have already been refunded by the DWP to women affected.
Among them is Lynda Hallaway, who lives near Hull with her husband John.
When Mrs Hallaway retired, she drew a state pension in her own right, but due to time spent bringing up family, she was only entitled to a modest amount.
As of April 2020, she was receiving around £57 per week.
Mr Hallaway heard about the story about underpaid state pensions, and entered her details into the LCP website calculator – then discovering his wife was being underpaid.
Mrs Hallaway phoned the pension service, who looked into the issue, before calling her back to inform her she was due a pension increase of £81 per week and a refund of more than £9,000.
Her state pension should have automatically increased when her husband turned 65 in 2012, however this didn’t happen.
Mrs Hallaway said: “I had no idea that my pension was being underpaid and it was only chance that my husband heard about this issue.
“I would encourage any woman who thinks her pension is being underpaid to get it checked.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “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.”