State Pension

Tens of thousands of women set to miss out on pension windfall

· 3 min read

The BBC has revealed that tens of thousands of older women in the UK could miss out on a vast pension windfall. An estimated 200,000 women are owed life-changing sums due to historical errors that led to underpayments. However, a change in the law from 2008 means many of those underpaid cannot claim back what they are owed.


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Many older women have been left devastated after learning they will not get the vast pension windfall they hoped for. It was revealed earlier this year that around 200,000 women could be entitled to life-changing sums of money because of errors made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that had led to underpayments. This left those affected believing they would be receiving huge sums in backdated payments.

However, tens of thousands of these women could miss out because of a change in the law in 2008.

While some women will still get the total amount to which they are entitled, many others will only recoup a fraction of what they are owed.

Letters that were never received

The DWP says women married to partners who retired before 2008, when the rule change was brought in, were contacted in writing by officials. This was to request that they applied for a pension increase at the time. However, the BBC states that all affected pensioners they have spoken to said they never received such a letter.

A DWP spokesperson said, "Married women whose husbands reached State Pension age after them, but before 17 March 2008, are required by law to make a separate claim, and application forms were provided four months before they reached State Pension age."

One pensioner, 77-year-old Angela Carr, said she believed she was entitled to claim up to 14 years of pension losses. However, because of the rule change in 2008, she can now only claim back one year, which means a substantial financial loss. She said that the money would have made "all the difference in the world" to her.

Steve Webb, former Pensions Minister, believes that up to 50,000 women could miss out due to the law change.

Mr Webb stated, "It is simply unacceptable that so many married women have been unnecessarily getting by on a reduced pension simply because the system is so complex that they were unaware of the need for a further claim."

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He added, "Women who have lost out on twelve years or more of pension through no fault of their own should not be limited to twelve months of backdating."

Struggle to get DWP to investigate

Many women have also highlighted the problems they had getting the DWP to investigate after raising concerns over the amount of pension they were receiving. Some people had to speak to DWP officials numerous times before they finally agreed to look into their pension.

One woman, Rosemary Chattel, aged 97, was underpaid for 20 years. The DWP was contacted many times by her family before agreeing to look into this. It turned out that she was owed £107,000 in back-pay, but by the time the DWP discovered this and paid it, she was in a care home suffering from dementia.

A family member said that the money would have made a massive difference to Mrs Chattel but that it came too late for her to acknowledge or appreciate it.

Reno Charlton
Reno Charlton
Reno Charlton has been writing since 2003. She has worked with a diverse client base around the world, across a variety of subjects and industry areas, specialising in lifestyle and health & wellbeing niches. In addition to her online work, Reno is also a published author and has written several children's books and short stories.
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