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A state pension mistake means hundreds of thousands of people – mostly women – have missed out on the amount they are entitled to. The DWP has identified the error as it relates to the older pension scheme, known as the basic state pension.

Under this pension, women were able to claim a state pension based on the National Insurance record of their husband, ex-husband or deceased husband.

The vast majority of cases saw the correct payment issued to those eligible, however, there were some issues identified in a subsequent investigation.

Recent analysis from the National Audit Office (NAO) shows approximately 237,000 state pensioners have been underpaid a total of £1.46billion.

The process of identification of all of those affected is ongoing as the DWP seeks to fairly reimburse individuals.

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The first is widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died.

The second is widows whose state pension is now correct, but think they may have been underpaid while their deceased husband was still alive.

Divorced women may also be affected by underpayment, particularly if they divorced after retirement – as they may not be benefitting from the contributions of their former husband.

Another group of people who could be due a payment are those pensioners over the age of 80, who are in receipt of a basic state pension worth less than £80.45 per week.

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Finally, the last group who could get a payment back are widowers and heirs of married women if the woman has now died but was underpaid the state pension in her lifetime. 

In the case of this last group, individuals can use a new tool to request important information from the DWP about what they could get back.

Once information is provided about the person who could have been affected when they died, the DWP will check whether the correct amount of state pension was paid.

If it was not and the person who has died was owed money, the DWP will write to the next of kin or person dealing with the estate to inform them of next steps. 

If a person feels they have been affected by state pension underpayments, they should be contacted by the DWP in due course.

However, others may want to contact the Pension Service which can be done via telephone on 0800 731 0469, or textphone on 0800 731 0464.

A DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “The action we are taking now will correct historical underpayments made by successive governments. 

“We are fully committed to addressing these errors, not identified under previous governments, as quickly as possible.

“We have set up a dedicated team and devoted significant resources towards completing this – alongside publishing gov.uk guidance for next of kin – with further resources being allocated throughout 2022 and 2023 towards the underpayments exercise.”