DWP state pension error sees thousands owed up to £12,486 | Personal Finance | Finance

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More than 90,000 pensioners robbed of financial security due to errors by the Department of Work and Pensioners (DWP) have received back payments of up to £12,486.

Details of back payments owed to tens of thousands of older people have been published in a document called LEAP – Legal Entitlements and Administrative Practice (LEAP) operation.

The groups involved include married women, individuals in a civil partnership, widows and individuals over 80 years of age.

Finance experts say a significant number of older people are likely to have suffered real hardship due to the mistakes.

A review of payment data covering January 11, 2021, and February 29, 2024, vetted 705,688 State Pension accounts for potential mistakes with a cumulative £571.6 million due in underpayments to these women.

As a result, 97,016 State Pension recipients, largely women, have received back payments averaging £2,192, £5,713 and £12,486.

This LEAP exercise update provides information for four groups of older people – married women (category BL), people in a civil partnership, widows and those over 80 (category D).

Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Progress is being made to rectify the large-scale issue of state pension underpayments, but it is very slow.

“Just over £571million has been returned so far but with estimates suggesting the scale of underpayments could be around £1.5 billion, there’s still a very long way to go.

“People have the expectation that the state pension they receive is correct but a series of errors in an already overly complicated system means that for many thousands of people, this expectation has been incorrect.

“Some who queried the issue with DWP over the years were told there was no problem, and many have suffered real financial hardship as a result.

“These people have been let down and need resolution as soon as possible.”

In 2020, the DWP became aware of a number of individuals who had not had an expected automatic increase in their state pension. While more than 90,000 have lost out, this represents a tiny fraction of the 12.7 million pensioners.

Details of the review – January 2021-February 2024

 

Married (Cat BL)

Cases reviewed: 317,955

Underpayments identified: 43,367

Average arrears: £5,713

Total amount repaid: £243.8million

Widowed (Cat B)

Cases reviewed: 298.099

Underpayments identified: 21,175

Average arrears: £12,486

Total amount repaid: £262million

Over 80 (Cat D)

Cases reviewed: 89,634

Underpayments identified: 32,474

Average arrears: £2,192

Total amount repaid: £65.5million



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