The UK Government has announced it will not be actively contacting women who may be owed more than £100 million in backdated State Pension payments.
In May, new research found that potentially “tens of thousands of women” may be entitled to compensation and a higher rate of State Pension than they are currently receiving.
The findings from pension consultants Lane Clark and Peacock suggested that the issue affects married women covered by the ‘old’ State Pension system.
This means women who reached State Pension age before April 6, 2016.
Under this system, married women could claim an enhanced rate of State Pension when their husband reached the age of 65 – in cases where they only had a small State Pension entitlement in their own right.
The same rules applied to widows and divorced women.
But now, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said it is encouraging women who think they’ve been affected to get in touch – rather than agreeing to actively seek out those affected, reports Express.co.uk.
During a recent Work and Pensions Questions in the House of Commons, Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman was asked whether the DWP would bring forward a plan to contact the affected women.
Jack Dromey MP said: “Case after case is being uncovered of retired women being underpaid on their pension.
“To this day, many do not know about the Department’s mistake, and some have tragically died before learning of it.
“This must be properly investigated. Crucially, those women deserve justice.
“When will the Department work out how many women have been affected, and who they are?
“Will it bring forward a plan to contact them so that the women who built Britain get the justice in retirement that they deserve?”
Mr Opperman told the House of Commons the DWP would correct any payments once contacted, and encouraged people to come forward if they thought they were affected.
However, the pensions minister ignored calls from Labour MPs for the DWP to actively contact the women affected.
He said: “As the Hon. Gentleman is aware, this dates from March 2008, when married women receiving a low-level state pension based on their national insurance record should have had their entitlement reviewed when their husband reached State Pension age.
“The Department for Work and Pensions is looking into the matter, and we invite any individual who feels that they are affected to claim a State Pension increase by contacting the Pension Service helpline or Pension Wise.”
At current rates, the pension that a married woman can claim based on her husband’s record of National Insurance contributions stands at £80.45 per week, provided her spouse was receiving a full basic state pension.
This is 60 percent of the full basic state pension rate of £134.25.
This 60 per cent rate should have been awarded to eligible married women on low pensions automatically when their husband turned 65 since March 2008.
Prior to this date, it would have needed to have been claimed.
Last month, a DWP spokesperson 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.”
How to check if your State Pension is being underpaid
To check if you might be affected, you can answer a few simple questions on the Lane Clark and Peacock online calculator here.
This checker has been designed to provide information for married women .
The information you enter is anonymous and will indicate if you are being paid the correct amount of State Pension.
Information of relevance to divorced women can be found on the Pensions Advice Service website here.
Information on the rules for widows can be found here.
There are also special rules for those aged 80 or over which can be found here.
If you think you might be owed money, you should contact the Pension Service at Gov.uk here – remember, you can backdate your claim for up to 12 months.
You can also contact Pension Wise on 0800 138 3944.
Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.