The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is recruiting 183 individuals over the next month to help handle enquiries about the state pension.
In a written statement, published this week (July 12), pensions minister Guy Opperman said between July 5 and August 9, DWP Retirement Services was recruiting 183 new members of staff to work on its state pension teams.
It comes after Opperman announced in April that throughout 2021/22 the department would look to hire an additional 360 staff, bringing its total to 510, to help it deal with the issue of state pension underpayments.
FTAdviser understands that while these 183 member of staff might not work entirely exclusively on state pension underpayments, they are part of the recruitment for that process.
Opperman stated: “This will enable us to continue to deliver the very best level of service to our customers.”
The DWP has identified underpayments relating to entitlements for certain married people, widows and the over-80s dating back to 1992.
The issue of state pension underpayments was first raised by pension consultants LCP back in May.
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, assuming this would be a greater amount than the pension they would receive from their own contributions.
Since March 17, 2008, this uplift should have been applied automatically. Prior to 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 such claims.
The DWP previously promised to search its records to unearth information on those who continue to miss out, and several thousand married women have already phoned DWP and made successful claims.
The government aims to pay back everyone who has been underpaid by the end of 2023.
As part of the March budget, the DWP estimated it will cost £3bn over the next six years to address the issue.
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