A recent report by a public spending watchdog has revealed that approximately 237,000 people over the State Pension age have been collectively underpaid £1.46 billion.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) watchdog found that people have been underpaid £8,900 on average. According to Managing Director for Customer Savings and Investments at Standard Life Jenny Holt, the claimants most likely to be impacted by these underpayments are those who hit the state Pension age prior to April 2016.
In particular, people without a full National Insurance record or full State Pension entitlement are at risk. She stated: “If you fall into this category then there are steps you can take to find out how much you might be owed and make a claim.
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“Even if you’re not affected directly by this issue, it’s still important to take the time to understand the State Pension, know what you’re entitled to, and whether it is being paid to you correctly. Having this knowledge will help you spot any potential errors and ensure you’re receiving the money you’re due.”
As reported by the Daily Record, she continued: “Last year, the National Audit Office estimated that as many as 134,000 pensioners, mostly women, may not have received the full amount of State Pension they’re entitled to, being owed an average of £8,900.
“This amounts to total underpayments of over £1 billion and estimates this year are even higher, with around 700,000 potential cases needing to be reviewed by the UK Government and potentially as many as 237,000 people are affected - meaning almost two per cent of everyone receiving a State Pension could be eligible for a top-up payment.
“These cases arise due to a variety of factors, including computer errors, information being incorrectly inputted in people’s records and the complexity of the State Pension system and its design, which originated not long after the Second World War.”
Who may be due back payments for State Pension?
Some people are more likely to be impacted by State Pension underpayments than others:
- People whose spouse or civil partner turned 65 prior to March 17, 2008 and whose State Pension is less than 60 per cent of their partner’s basic State Pension.
- People who got a divorce after retirement and whose State Pension does not factor in their former partner’s National Insurance contributions
- People who are married or in a civil partnership and who turned 65 prior to March 17, 2008, and are not claiming anything in basic State Pension but do get a small amount from additional State Pension
- People over 80 years old or older who are not currently getting £85 or more from their State Pension
- People who are widowed whose State Pension did not increase when their partner died
- People who currently get the right amount of State Pension but may have been paid less than they should have been while their spouse was alive
- The families of State Pension recipients who were underpaid while they were alive
Jenny added: “While it is possible that men may be eligible for underpaid State Pension top-ups, they are in practice less likely to be.
“Since they are more likely than women to have a full National Insurance record and less likely to rely on a spouse or partner for their State Pension entitlement, men are less likely to fall into one of these listed categories.”
How much unpaid State Pension could I be owed?
On average, people are due approximately £9,000, though in reality individual payment amounts will vary greatly. This is because different kinds of claims have different backdating rules, and because some recipients may be able to claim more than one category.
How to Make a Claim
The easiest way to learn if you qualify for a State Pension back payment is to phone the pension service on 0800 731 0469. Full contact details can be found on the Gov.uk website.
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