PensionsDec 3 2015

DWP must contact those who will lose out from new state pension: Age UK

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DWP must contact those who will lose out from new state pension: Age UK

The department for work and pensions should reach out to those who have already planned their retirement income based on the current state pension system, as a priority, Age UK has said.

The charity said the government should prioritise groups which could be worse off because of the reforms so they can make different decisions about their retirement.

It gave as an example the case of a woman who contacted its advice line having found out that she could not rely on her ex-husband’s NI contributions when she retired.

In a submission to the work and pensions select committee, the charity said: “While for some there may be little they can do, others may be able to make up gaps in their contribution record, or make different decisions about their retirement.

“We believe the DWP should contact people with gaps in their record individually, to highlight the changes and explain options.”

Age UK expressed concern about three particular groups of people: those expecting to rely on their partner’s contribution, those with fewer than 10 years’ contributions and those with fewer than 35 years’ contributions.

In the first scenario, the loss of derived and inherited rights to the basic pension will reduce entitlement for some people, mainly women.

In the most extreme situation, a woman with no entitlement in her own right, who is widowed, could end up with no state pension compared to an expected £115.95 under the current system.

The submission said those with fewer than 10 years’ contributions would not receive anything but could take action, while those under state pension age no longer working and who have 30 years of contributions and assume this is the maximum they need, could increase their entitlement.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “The new state pension reflects a bold move to create a system that will be simpler in the future and easier to understand.

“We are committed to communicating these changes to the public.”

Adviser view

Rosemary Heaversedge, principal at Shropshire Independent Financial Services, said: “When women weren’t working and contributing, and before the family responsibility allowance came along, if their years were short, they could claim on their husband’s contributions.

“What I used to do is say to people who were divorced, please do not remarry until you are 60. Three women can claim on one man’s contributions.”