State Pension  

Webb launches petition to tackle underpaid pensions

Webb launches petition to tackle underpaid pensions
 Sir Steve Webb, partner at LCP

Former pensions minister Steve Webb has launched a petition calling on government to search its records to identify all women who have been underpaid their state pension.

At the time of writing the petition had already secured 2,262 signatures, despite only being launched yesterday (September 16).

When the petition receives 10,000 signatures, the government will respond and if it gathers 100,000 signatures before March 7, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.

Sir Steve, a partner at consultancy LCP, first raised the issue of state pension underpayments for married women back in May.

Women are being urged to check their state pension as under the old system married women could claim a basic state pension at 60 per cent of the full rate based on their husband's contributions, where this would be bigger than the pension they would get based on their own contributions.

Since March 17, 2008, this uplift should have been applied automatically but before this date, a married woman had to make a “second claim" to have her state pension increased when her husband turned 65 - and many women did not make that claim.

LCP found the Department for Work and Pensions’s record checks, which see the government proactively contact women for repayments, captured only women who married after March 2008.

LCP estimates the DWP has already refunded several million pounds to hundreds of women.

Sir Steve said: “Rather than wait for women to claim their correct state pension rate one-by-one, govt should use its records to track down all the women who are being underpaid and put things right. Please sign our new petition and spread the word.”

He previously said: “It is good news that DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid. I have no doubt that in addition to the millions which have already been refunded, this process will result in tens of millions of pounds being paid over.  

“But this record check must be comprehensive rather than narrow. As things stand, many groups of women, including widows, divorced women and the over-80s will not get a call from the DWP, so they will have to ring up and ask for their state pension to be checked if they think they are being underpaid."

A DWP spokesperson said: "We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid state pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.

"We are checking for further cases, and if any are found awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid."

amy.austin@ft.com

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