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DWP gives pensioner £77,000 payout after state pension ‘error’

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The DWP is aware of the issue and since 2021 has been working to contact everyone who could’ve been affected by the underpayments – it is believed more than 230,000 people are thought to have been affected

Thousands of women were found to have been underpaid their state pension (stock image) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A pensioner has been awarded £77,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after they failed to boost her state pension.

The mistake came to light after Tean Hatt, an independent financial advisor from Vizion Wealth, noticed the significant underpayments on their client’s pension plan. Tean told the FT Advisor that they had been hired to help with the pension planning for a client, who is only known as Mr B.




However, while assisting, Tean looked into the joint financial situation with his wife, who is 73 and retired in 2011 at 60. Mrs B said she did not qualify for the state pension, however, Tean believed this was “strange” and looked into it further. Mrs B had worked for her husband’s company and was paid a low wage for National Insurance purposes.

Under the DWP rules at the time, married women over the state pension could claim an enhanced rare of the basic state pensions when their spouse or civil partner reached the state pension age. However, this was only in cases where they only had a small basic state pension entitlement in their own right. If this didn’t happen the married woman could claim the uplift and backdate is to the date her partner reached the state pension age.

In this case, Mr B retired in 2019 at the age of 65 years, but Mrs B had not received the uplift. Alongside this, she wasn’t aware of the rules around her state pension payments. After discovering this, Tean wrote to the DWP on the couple’s behalf to find out what happened to the uplift. The DWP then confirmed that the uplift was not automatically applied due to a “computer error”. This mistake meant Mrs B was entitled to a back payment of £130 a week, which overall totalled £77,393. This covered the weeks she missed out on her uplifted state pension payments when she retired at 60 – so 13 years worth of pension payments.

Alternatively, Mrs B was also offered the option to have the extra state pension of £160 a week on top of her normal payments, which would total £290 per week. Tean told the FT Advisor that this was the “biggest win” they had for a client regarding the DWP’s state pension. They said: “What past experience has taught me is to question women’s assumptions on what they may or may not be due from the state pension. If you see a low/no state pension in your fact finding do ask the follow up questions that may unearth a reason to contact the DWP.

“I find the most effective way is by writing a formal letter on behalf of the client to the DWP which forces it to investigate and answer according to the stated rules and procedures. I know it’s unscientific but I believe that over the years more than half of these enquiries have produced a positive result which is why I keep asking the questions and sending the letters.”

The DWP said it had received more than 700,000 cases similar to Mrs B’s over the last few years. The DWP is aware of the issue and since 2021 has been working to contact everyone who could’ve been affected by the underpayments – it is believed more than 230,000 people are thought to have been affected. The DWP has paid out £571million in these cases.



Read More: DWP gives pensioner £77,000 payout after state pension ‘error’

2024-06-19 09:39:00

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