Is your state pension correct? According to former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, more women should be asking the Department for Work and Pensions to check they are not being underpaid for their state pensions.
This is because new rules on the pension triple lock, planned to help recover public finances in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, could affect women’s pensions in particular.
Previously, married women who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 were able to claim a basic state pension based on their husbands’ contribution record. This basic pension would be 60% of the full rate, and would be available if this was larger than what they could get based on their own pension contributions.
Widows, divorcees and women over 80 regardless of marital status should also contact the Department for Work and Pensions if they have been underpaid their state pension.
Have I Missed Out On State Pension?
If you are a married woman and your husband turned 65 on or after 17th March 2008, you may have missed out. This is because the top up to 60% of your husband’s pension should have happened automatically. For many women, this has not been the case.
If your husband celebrated his 65th birthday before 17th March 2008, you may also be missing out on additional state pension entitlement. This is because women who fall under this group will have needed to contact the DWP to claim this top-up.
Am I Being Paid Enough State Pension?
You may not have been paid enough state pension if you fall under the following groups:
- Married women whose husbands turned 65 before 17 March 2008 and have never contacted the DWP to claim the top-up to 60% of their husband’s amounts.
- Widows whose pensions were not increased after their husbands’ deaths.
- Widows who think they may have been underpaid when their deceased husband was still alive, even if their pension is now correct.
- Women in their 80s who are receiving a basic pension of less than £80.45 per week, if they satisfied the basic residence test at age 80.
- Widowers and heirs of women who have now died but were underpaid state pension while they were alive.
- Divorced women who might not be benefiting from their ex-husbands’ contributions.
What Happens If I'm Being Underpaid My State Pension?
If you think you’ve been underpaid your state pension, you should speak to the Department of Work and Pensions.
Currently, rules state that if you have been underpaid, you can backdate incorrect payments for 12 months. However, many women have challenged this through the Parliamentary Ombudsman to backdate previous months of incorrect payments.
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