Tens of thousands of women in the UK are being urged to check whether they are owed a state pension refund following the launch of a new follow up report by Lane Clarke & Peacock LLP (LCP).
A little over two months ago, LCP published a report paper titled “Are tens of thousands of older women being underpaid state pension,” revealing that thousands of women in the UK were potentially being underpaid on their state pension due to an error by the DWP. Since then, the DWP has been forced to refund millions of pounds to thousands of women who were affected by the mistake.
Now that LCP has released a follow up to their initial report, we look to answer the question of whether you or someone you know, could be entitled to a state pension refund. Read on to learn more.
What did the LCP teach us about underpaid state pensions?
The underlying issue highlighted by the LCP’s report is that married women have an entitlement to claim a basic state pension at 60% of the full rate based on their husband’s contributions, where the amount would be larger than a pension based on their own contributions.
Before the 17th March 2008, a married woman would have had to make a second claim to ensure the increase to their state pension was applied once her husband had turned 65. However, since that date, the 60% uplift is automatically applied…at least it should have been.
Are you owed a state pension refund?
Following the release of the LCP’s initial paper, it was revealed that the DWP’s system had not been honouring the automatic uplift and that tens of thousands of married women were, in fact, missing out on their entitled uplift.
In April, two women realised they were being underpaid on their state pensions following a column written by Steve Webb, who is a partner at LCP, on the This is Money Website. He is now leading calls for the Government to hold an urgent enquiry to address the thousands of married women who may be owed state pension refunds.
Mr Webb who was a guest speaker at a client event we hosted back in November said: “It is good news that DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid. I have no doubt that in addition to the millions which have already been refunded, this process will result in tens of millions of pounds being paid over. But this record check must be comprehensive rather than narrow. As things stand, many groups of women, including widows, divorced women, and the over 80s will not get a call from the DWP so they will have to ring up and ask for their state pension to be checked if they think they are being underpaid.”
“It would be far more efficient for DWP to do a comprehensive record check, including alerting women who still need to make a claim for an uplift. Without this, this issue will rumble on and on, and women will continue to miss out on the pension that is rightfully theirs.”
Following his advice, both women were successful with their claims with the DWP and were awarded state pension refunds totalling £14,000. In response to the report’s findings, the DWP has also responded by urging those who believe they may have been underpaid to come forward. They also confirmed that they are currently ‘undertaking a check of its records’ to identify cases where people have been underpaid.
If you are married and need pension advice to determine whether you could be entitled to claim for a state pension refund, or you have elderly relatives who could be, contact Acumen Financial Services for friendly, expert consultation today.