State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify
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Women who have reached state pension age are being urged to check they are receiving the correct amount after some were told they weren’t entitled to a state pension at all. However, around 10,000 women could have been incorrectly informed and owed up to £4,000 in back payments.
“Yet I continue to hear from women who have been wrongly told that they are not entitled to a pension.”
He continued: “What concerns me most is how many other women there may be who simply trusted what DWP have told them and are now struggling to get by without the pension which is rightfully theirs.
“DWP should be checking all their records for such cases and putting things right, as well as making sure that these mistakes cannot happen again.”
One pensioner who has been affected is Estelle Henley who reached pension age in April this year.
Before retiring she worked full-time in her daughter’s pub for 15 years.
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Ms Henley lives near Southampton with her husband Rob who is aged 72 but still in part-time work, partly to support the couple until Mrs Henley’s state pension became payable.
Mrs Henley claimed her state pension in the usual way but was shocked to receive a letter from DWP saying she did not have the necessary number of contributions.
Mrs Henley said: “I knew that something was wrong when I was told I wasn’t entitled to a pension, but there may be other women who might not realise they have been given the wrong information.
“I would encourage anyone who has been turned down for a pension to make sure that an error has not been made”.
The DWP has since rectified the mistake but Sir Steve is still hearing from women who have wrongly been told they have no pension entitlement.
He said that some women may find that under the rules of the new state pension they lack the ten years of full rate contributions necessary to qualify for any state pension.
However, the new system has a special concession for such women, provided that they were paying the reduced stamp 35 years before they retired.
Such women can automatically get a pension of £85 per week if they are married or £141.85 if they are widowed or divorced.
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A DWP spokesperson said: “This year we will spend over £110billion on the state pension and our priority is ensuring every pensioner receives all the financial support to which they are entitled.
“Where errors do occur, we are committed to identifying and rectifying them.
“We will respond to the letter in due course.”
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