237,000 pensioners owed payments by the DWP

The DWP has identified some 237,000 pensioners who are owed payments with some due payments of over £11,000.

The issue mostly affects women on the basic state pension, which applies to women born before April 6, 1953.

The error came about as these women did not receive the state pension payment they should have based on their husband’s National Insurance record and contributions.

Other women should have had an uplift to their state pension when their husband died but this did not happen.

The DWP has identified 9,928 women who have received arrears payments worth on average £11,521.

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In cases of married women owed money, there were more than 22,270 underpayments with average back payments worth £6,630.

More than 14,000 women aged 80 and over have also had payments worth on average £2,710 over the past two years.

Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The DWP is making progress in dealing with state pension underpayments but there’s a mountain still to climb.

“So far almost 47,000 underpayments have been identified with £300million being repaid.

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“However, with estimates suggesting as many as 237,000 pensioners have been underpaid £1.46billion it is clear this is a situation that is not going to be resolved any time soon and in the meantime thousands of pensioners are getting less than what they are entitled to.”

There are six groups who may be due back payments, who are encouraged to contact the Pension Service to check.

These include:

  • Married women whose husband turned 65 before March 17, 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 percent rate
  • Widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died
  • Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, particularly if he reached the age of 65 after March 17, 2008
  • Over 80s who are receiving a basic state pension of less than £80.45
  • Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but was underpaid state pension during her lifetime
  • Divorced women, particularly those who divorced after retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband.

A DWP spokesperson said previously: “The action we are taking now will correct historical underpayments made by successive governments.

“We are fully committed to addressing these errors, not identified under previous governments, as quickly as possible.

“We have set up a dedicated team and devoted significant resources towards completing this, with further resources being allocated throughout 2023 to ensure pensioners receive the support to which they’re entitled.”

The full basic state pension is currently £156.20 a year while the full new state pension is £203.85 a year.

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