Guy Opperman quizzed on state pension underpayments
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State Pension payments are understandably important to millions of people right across the UK as a source of income in retirement. Many people lean upon the state pension to offer them vital financial support once they have departed from the workforce. However, due to an error at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), thousands of women may find they have been underpaid their entitlement.
The issue arises for those claiming the old state pension due to rules about how much a woman could receive.
Under the system, married women who were looking at a limited state pension in their own right were permitted to claim a 60 percent basic state pension sum.
This was based on the National Insurance record of their husband at the time.
Women were only allowed to undertake this action, however, if the sum was bigger than the state pension they would have received based on their own National Insurance record.
An uplift to the state pension sum should have been applied automatically since March 2008.
However, due to a system blunder, in certain circumstances some women did not have this increase automatically applied.
Individuals retiring before this date needed to make what is being described as a “second claim” to uplift their state pension sum.
These women will have needed to take action, however, the DWP stated it wrote to those affected telling them what they could do next.
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Issues, however, arose when certain women stated they received no such correspondence and were thus left out of the loop.
Women who have been impacted will have missed out on potentially years of higher state pension payments.
However, another issue is arising for women which is causing further strain.
Under present rules, individuals can only get backdated payments for the boosted state pension sum for 12 months.
This means many have missed the opportunity to receive years of contributions.
Rectifying the issue, though, is likely to provide significant peace of mind to the female state pensioners who have been impacted.
The DWP is now taking action to reach out to those individuals who may have been hit by the error.
However, experts such as former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, who is now partner at Lane, Clark, Peacock (LCP) has urged women to take action by contacting the DWP if they feel they have been affected.
A DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk about the work it was undertaking regarding this matter.
They said: “We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid State Pension.
“We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.
“We are checking for further cases, and if any are found awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid.”
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