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DWP STATE PENSION REVIEW - IMPACT ON WOMEN’S PENSIONS

At the beginning of March the Department of Work and Pensions announced that it will be reviewing the pension records of thousands of married women who reached state pension age before April 2016. These women should be receiving a state pension that is at least 60% of the value of their husband’s basic state pension. Some of them may be or have been receiving too little and been underpaid in their state pension. You may be due an uplift if you fall into any of the categories below.

Who may be affected?

· Married women who hit state pension age before April 2016 and whose state pension is less than 60% of their husband’s basic state pension.

· Married women whose husband turned 65 before 17th March 2008

· Widows / Divorcees

· Women over 80 years old

Many people who should have received an uplift but didn’t, will be contacted by the Department of Work and Pensions and will not have to do anything, their pension entitlement will be increased automatically. Others however will not receive notification and will need to check their eligibility for an increase and make an application accordingly.

Brief information on each of the scenarios is provided below:


1. Married Women who hit state pension age before April 2016 and whose state pension is less than 60% of their husband’s basic state pension.

If you fall into this category you should have your state pension boosted up to 60% of your husband’s basic state pension.

Will I receive this automatically?:

· If your husband turned 65 before 17th March 2008, increased payment was not made automatically and you would have needed to submit a claim. Many women were not aware of this and therefore did not / have not claimed their increase. You can backdate a claim for enhanced payment for up to 12 months.

· If your husband turned 65 on or after 17th March 2008, your state pension should have been topped up automatically to 60% of your husband’s basic state pension. Some women did not receive this due to a DWP computer error. The DWP is now working through its records and will contact you by letter. If you missed out on increased state pension due to computer error, you can get payments backdated to (i) Your husband’s 65th birthday or (ii) the date you hit state pension age (if this is later).


2. Women aged 80+ in receipt of state pension of less than £80.45 per week

The level of state pension you receive is normally dependent on the level of national insurance contributions made. If you are aged 80+ and your state pension is less than £80.45 per week, you may be eligible to have your state pension topped up to £80.45 per week, which ensures you receive a level of minimum state pension regardless of the level of national insurance contributions you have made. To qualify for this, you must satisfy the following residency requirements:

· You must have been living in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, a European Economic Area country or Switzerland, on your 80th birthday (or date of your claim if later)

· You must have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 10 years in any 20 -year period after your 60th birthday. (this doesn’t need to be 10 consecutive years)


3. Divorced Women

If you are a woman who was married and subsequently divorced, and did not remarry before you reached state pension age, you can substitute the national insurance record of your ex-husband for your own, up to the date of your divorce. This may mean you are eligible for enhanced state pension. Please note that you will only be eligible for increased pension if you got divorced after you retired. If you got divorced before you retired, the increase should already have been made.

If you fall under this category, payment will not be made automatically and must be claimed. These claims cannot be backdated.

Anyone who falls into any of the above categories, and some people will fall into more than one, can check if they are receiving the correct level of state pension and if they are due a backdated payment by contacting the Pension Service section of the Department of Work and Pensions on: 0800 731 0469. Alternatively, visit the Pension Service website at: www.gov.uk/contact-pension-service

Eamonn Donaghy

CEO - NFOP