The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted to mistakes that have led to around 237,000 pensioners being underpaid. Following a review in January 2021, it identified a number of groups that were likely to have been underpaid, some dating back as far as 1985, with an estimated £1.46bn due to those affected. The DWP confirmed that it has resolved almost 32,000 cases, totalling £209m, however, it has now admitted that it is unable to meet its targeted deadline of 2023, meaning many pensioners may have to wait until late 2024 to receive what they are due.
Why have state pensions been underpaid and who is affected?
The DWP identified a number of pensioners that are likely to have been underpaid due to errors made when calculating upgraded or enhanced state pensions. Most of those affected would have reached state pension age by April 2016 and the four main groups include:
- Widows/Widowers that should have inherited an enhanced state pension following the death of their spouse
- Married women that should have received an upgrade to a 60% basic state pension when their husband retired
- Over 80s who should have been automatically upgraded to a 60% basic state pension
- Parents and carers that stayed home to look after children under the Home Responsibilities Protection scheme (HRP)
How to check if your state pension has been underpaid
If you think that your state pension may have been underpaid then you can contact the Pension Service via the Gov.uk website. Alternatively, you can call the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469 to discuss your situation. You will need to have your name, date of birth and National Insurance number to hand. You can also write to the Pension Service by sending a letter to:
The Pension Service
Post Handling Site A
Can I claim underpaid state pension on behalf of someone who has died?
If you know of someone who is likely to have been underpaid their state pension and who has since died, then you can still make a claim via the Gov.uk website. You'll need to provide as much information as possible, including your relationship to the deceased, whether you are an executor of the estate, your telephone number and address as well as the name, date of birth and National Insurance number of the person you are claiming on behalf of.