• Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Thousands of divorced women underpaid state pension as one receives £60k refund

Dec 7, 2021

Thousands of divorced women in the UK could be in line for state pension payouts, it has been claimed.

The government is said to be looking into underpaid state pensioners after a campaign by former pensions minister Steve Webb.

But now Mr Webb says the government's sums need to include thousands of extra divorced women.

At first it found 200,000 women were underpaid state pensions by around £3billion.

The number was then hiked to include 130,000 married women, widows and those over the age of 80.

According to Mr Webb, the government's reckoning doesn't include huge numbers of divorced women who could be underpaid.

He says there have been examples of divorced women receiving huge payouts from the government.

One woman, known as Mrs H, was told she wasn't entitled to a state pension when she retired as a divorcee.

But when she challenged this she then received £60,000 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Mr Webb said: "Given the errors, it seems implausible DWP has a record when it comes to the pensions of divorced women."

He added: "A series of individual cases has highlighted blunders which have led to divorced women being underpaid by tens of thousands of pounds, in some cases for a decade or more.

"The DWP has dismissed concerns around this group far too lightly and should take another look to assess the scale of the problem and then take action to put things right."

To check if you've been underpaid, you can use an online tool created by Mr Webb's firm, Lane Clark & Peacock.

He said the following groups of divorced women were most likely to be owed state pension:

  • Those who divorced after pension age, told the government but didn't get more pension
  • Women who divorced when they retired but are on small pensions
  • Those who divorced close to retirement, so most of their state pension came from their spouse's National Insurance payments

A DWP spokesperson told Daily Star: "We encourage people to contact us if they get divorced or their civil partnership is dissolved and every year we remind people about doing so alongside the uprating notifications we send out.

"We want everyone to claim the benefits to which they may be entitled and we urge anyone of State Pension age – or their family and friends – to check if they are missing out on financial support.

"We apologise for the errors in the cases identified and have corrected our records and paid the arrears owed."

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