In Focus: Advice for Women  

Woman scoops £60k in back-payments from DWP

Woman scoops £60k in back-payments from DWP
Photo: Cottonbro via Pexels

Divorced women are being urged to make sure their state pension is correct after one woman received a back payment of more than £60,000 from the government. 

The woman was able to claim back this money due to an issue which affects the ‘old’ state pension system, which is received by people born before April 6, 1953.

Yvonne Hooper, aged 77, was widowed as a young woman and was twice divorced by the time she reached pension age at 60 in 2004, though she has since remarried.  

She thought she would not be entitled to a state pension as she did not have sufficient National Insurance contributions, so did not claim.  

After contacting Steve Webb, partner at LCP and former pensions minister, who has been campaigning on underpaid state pensions, Hooper submitted a claim and has now been awarded a full basic state pension and back-payments of more than £60,000.

Hooper said she got in touch with Webb after seeing a news article about thousands of women who had lost out on their pension

She said: “I got nowhere with the DWP website but in the end, I was put in touch with the right people who were really helpful and I was supported all the way through.  

“After 17 years of no pension, I will now get back pay of over £60,000 and a regular pension going forward."

There are two groups of people who could be missing out on a state pension.

Individuals who were divorced at point of retirement - these people can get a state pension based on the contributions of their ex-spouse, even if they have a poor contribution record of their own.

And individuals who divorced post retirement but have never notified DWP - they can have their basic state pension reassessed using their former partner’s contributions, but this only happens when they notify DWP of their ‘change of circumstances’.

Hopper added: “It had never occurred to me that I could get a pension on my ex-husband's contributions and never that it could be so much. 

“To all the women out there without a pension make a claim to see if you are owed a pension. I feel like I have won the lottery. And I am really grateful to all the people that have helped me achieve this”. 

Hooper commended the people at the DWP who dealt with her claim saying they "went the extra mile".

Webb said divorce cases are often complex and as Hooper was out of the country, she had to make complex choices about how to take her ‘deferred’ pension.

She said DWP were patient and helpful in getting this sorted.

A DWP spokesperson said: “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.”