State Pension Age

According to a report in the Guardian on the 6th February 2021, thousands of woman over State Pension Age may collectively be owed more than £100m after being underpaid for years. The problem affects women who reached state-pension age before 6 April 2016, who fall under the older-style pension system, which enabled women with a reduced national insurance contributions record to claim a proportion of their husband’s state pension.

The Guardian gave the example of Angela Jenner, 78 who was getting only 86p a week as her state pension, who said “What I didn’t realise was that when my husband retired in July 2008 I should have automatically received 60% of the basic state pension”.  For more than 12 years she had been underpaid each week – and was owed £42,700 as a result.

After she heard on TV about the possibility of underpayments, she made a claim – and the result was an increase to £80.45 a week, and a lump sum covering the money she had missed out on since 2008.

Jenner used the free tool from pension consultant Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) to see if she could qualify, before contacting the DWP, who she said were helpful and the process of making a claim was simple.

Are you able to claim?

You may be due a payout and increased state pension if you fall into the following scenarios:

  • You are a married woman who reached state pension age before April 2016 with a state pension that is less than 60% of your husband’s basic state pension (currently £80.45, based on the 2020-21 £134.25 a week).
  • You are a married woman whose husband turned 65 before 17 March 2008 but you did not realise you should get an increase in state pension, and so never claimed.
  • You are a widow whose pension was not increased when your husband died (you can potentially receive a full basic state pension, plus a percentage of your late husband’s additional state pension).
  • You are a widow and may have been underpaid while your husband was alive or you did not receive an increase when your husband died, based on his contributions.
  • You are a woman over 80 in receipt of a basic pension of less than £80.45. Whatever your marital status, check your entitlement. You may be entitled to a non-contributory state pension that is not currently based on your national insurance contributions record.
  • You are a divorced woman – particularly if you divorced post retirement – who is receiving a small pension and may benefit from your ex-husband’s NICs record.

You can raise a claim if you believe you may have been underpaid. You can check if you are owed any state pension by contacting the Pension Service, part of the Department for Work and Pensions, on 0800 731 0469. It has a team working on claims for state pension underpayments.

You can read the Guardian report here (we have just re-produced this excerpt from The Guardian, we haven’t fact-checked it, so we take no responsibility if there are any errors in it).