State Pension: DWP to repay £3bn of underpayments – how to check if you’ve been underpaid

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State pension underpayments could be a widespread costly issue to the DWP over the coming months and years, with a recent review finding that around 200,000 women could receive payouts averaging £13,500 to top-up underpaid state pensions. This is the result of an error made over the previous decades which focused on automatic cash increases for certain married women who dealt with “enhanced” pensions and by the end of this ordeal, the DWP estimates their bill will top £2.7billion.

The OBR’s own forecast put the bill slightly higher, as their economic and fiscal output detailed: “DWP has also identified underpayments of state pension relating to entitlements for certain married people, widows and over-80s back to 1992.

“Our forecast reflects an initial estimate that it will cost around £3billion over the six years to 2025-26 to address these underpayments, with costs peaking at £0.7billion in 2021-22.”

Women who may be affected by this could be underpaid if the following apply:

  • They are a married woman over state pension age who reached pension age before April 6, 2016
  • Their husband is over state pension age
  • Their basic state pension is less than 60 percent of his basic amount

To see if state pensions have been underpaid, people can contact the DWP or the Government’s pension service.

The pension service can be contacted to find out about state pension eligibility, claims, payments and complaints.

Details for the pension service can be found on the Government’s website and they can be contacted over the phone or through the post.

It should also be noted that independent state pent advice can be sought from the likes of Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service.

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Most retirees going forward will receive the “new” state pension, which is awarded to men born on or after April 6 1951 or women born on or after April 6 1953.

In order to be eligible for the new state pension, claimants will need at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt.

To receive the full amount from it, at least 35 years will be needed.

As it stands, the most a person can receive from their state pension is £175.20 per week.

It should be noted that state pensions will not be paid out automatically, they will need to be claimed.

State pensions can be claimed up to four months before a person reaches their state pension age.

The quickest way to get a state pension is to apply online.

However, they can also be claimed over the phone or through the post.

Once a state pension is claimed, initial payments may take up to five weeks to arrive.

Beyond this, payments will arrive once every four weeks.

The actual day the payments arrive will depend on the claimant’s National Insurance number, with the last two digits determining the payment days as follows:

  • 00 to 19 – Monday
  • 20 to 39 – Tuesday
  • 40 to 59 – Wednesday
  • 60 to 79 – Thursday
  • 80 to 99 – Friday

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