Married women could be owed an estimated £100 million in underpayments in their state pension by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). Many have already received pay-outs, with an average shortfall of £9,000 refunded.

Pensions consultancy, LCP first raised the issue of state pension underpayment for married women in May 2020.

But some have received as much as £30,000 from the DWP. The huge shortfall has occurred because DWP only checked their records for women who got married after March 2008.

With efficient back office systems for IFAs this incident was avoidable. Previously, the old state pension system permitted married women to claim 60% of the basic state pension. This was calculated on contributions made by their husband, if this was larger than a pension calculated on their own contributions.

This improved rate should have been applied automatically, as would happen with back office systems for IFAs, and was due to come into effect from 27th March 2008. But this uplift required women married before this date to proactively contact the DWP to ask for the increase once their husband reached the age of 65. The complex rules plus technical errors have resulted in thousands of women failing to be contacted about the additional money they are entitled to.

married women should check their state pension record

The DWP is aware of the shortfall and have made corrections to their records and reimbursed the women affected, and will hopefully use more efficient back office systems for IFAs to store information in the future. But, in order to ensure that they get the money they are owed, there are six groups of people that should contact DWP now to ask for a pension rate review.

If you are a…

Widow who did not receive an increase after your husband’s death.

Widow who has since received the uplift, but who may have been underpaid whilst your husband was alive.

Married woman with a husband aged 65 before 17th March 2008, who hasn’t at any point received an improvement on the 60% rate.

Woman over 80 who currently receives a basic rate of £80.45, if you passed a basic residence test when reaching 80 years.

Widower or heir of a now deceased married woman who was underpaid by the DWP during her life.

Divorcee, especially if you divorced after retirement. You can still benefit from the contributions of your ex-husband.