As the cost of living crisis continues, older Britons on low incomes are urged to “challenge” their state pension payments as they could be “riddled with errors”.
Around 1.3 million pensioners are being left out of pocket, according to a Labour Party analysis of official documents.
Sir Steve Webb, who is now partner at consultancy LCP, said: “I fear the state pension is so riddled with errors that recipients should not automatically trust that the income they receive is correct.
“Essentially, you should always start from the assumption that the sum of money you get may be incorrect — that’s how bad it is,’ he says.
“My advice would be — if you’re not sure, challenge it.”
In 2020, the Government admitted it had made systematic errors in state pension calculations.
It is estimated that around 237,000 pensioners have been underpaid around £1.46billion according to data shared by the DWP.
There are six particular groups strongly encouraged to contact the Pension Service to see if they could be entitled to more state pension.
Women who retired under the old state pension system are those said to be mainly affected as they may not have received the state pension payment they were owed under their husband’s National Insurance records.
Who could receive back payments for state pension?
The following people may be due state pension back payments:
- Married women whose husbands turned 65 before March 17, 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 percent rate
- Widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died
- Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, particularly if he reached the age of 65 after March 17, 2008
- Over-80s who are receiving a basic state pension (also called a Category D State Pension).
- Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but was underpaid state pension during her lifetime
- Divorced women, particularly those who divorced after retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband
The amount of state pension one receives depends on how many years of National Insurance contributions they have made or been credited with.
Individuals need at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions (NICs) to qualify for the new state pension and 35 years to receive the full amount.
To get the full basic state pension people will need a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits.
The full basic state pension is £156.20 per week.
Women born before April 6, 1950 or a man born before April 6, 1945, may need more years of National contributions. For more advice, Britons can visit the Government website.
The full amount of the new state pension is currently set at £203.85 a week.
Anyone who thinks they may be affected can call the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469.
A DWP spokesperson previously said: “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, with further resources being allocated throughout 2023 to ensure pensioners receive the support to which they’re entitled.”