News

Women’s state pension shortfall

More women should ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to check their state pensions, according former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb.

Research from a leading law firm has highlighted how many are losing out from the state pension system. Analysis shows that many women previously in receipt of the old state pension did not realise that, if they reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, they were able to claim a basic state pension of 60% of the full rate based on their husbands’ contribution record, if this was larger than the pension they could get based on their own contributions.

While this uplift in the state pension should have been given automatically since 17 March 2008, before then, a married woman had to make a ‘second claim’ when her husband reached age 65 – and many women did not make this claim.

To avoid missing out, potentially affected women should call the DWP to see if they have been underpaid. These include:

  • Married women whose husbands were 65 before 17 March 2008 and have never claimed the 60% uplift.
  • Widows with pensions that weren’t 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 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 deceased women that were underpaid state pensions while alive.
  • Divorced women not benefiting from their ex-husbands’ contributions.

Some married women who did not realise they needed to make a claim for the uplift intend to complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsman arguing that the DWP failed to keep them adequately informed.

If you think you or someone in your family may be affected, please get in touch.