The Department for Work and Pensions, DWP, has been under investigation by the National Audit Office. The report found an estimated 134,000 people on state pension have been underpaid, receiving far less than they were entitled to.
Those that reached state pension age before April 6 2016, if their partner became entitled to their state pension on or after March 17 2008 may have entitled to an increase in their pension payments.
It is estimated that 53,000 people should have benefited from their spouse’s NI record, totalling a due pay back of £339million.
So far, the DWP has paid out £20.8million of this debt to around 2,681 people receiving an average of £7,772 each.
The second category of people who may be due a pension boost are those that should have inherited their late partner’s state pension.
Widowed pensioners that are getting basic state pension of less than £137.60 a week can derive their late partner’s basic state pension.
This could boost their pension payment by up to £137.60 per week as well as inheriting between 50 and 100 percent of any additional state pension and 50 percent of any graduated retirement benefit.
Around 44,000 widows and widowers who should have inherited more state pension from their late partner.
£568million is due to be paid to people in this category, of which £20.2million has already been paid out to 2,381 people receiving an estimated £8,628 each.
In total, officials have dealt with around 7 percent of potential cases and those that fall into these categories but have not been compensated for the underpayments should be contacted within the next two years at least.
The DWP is using a checking process which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and where underpayments are identified the DWP will contact the person.
Individuals will not need to flag or claim these underpayments themselves.
Thus far, the DWP has found underpayments of as much as £128,000 dating back to 1985 and the expected back pay an individual receives could be far higher than the averages provided.
The National Audit Office’s report stated: “The final value of the underpayments and the number of pensioners affected will only become clear once the Department has completed its review of all affected cases.”
A DWP spokesperson told Birmingham Mail: “We are fully committed to ensuring the historical errors that have been made by successive Governments are corrected, and as this report acknowledges, we’re dedicating significant resources to doing so. Anyone impacted will be contacted by us to ensure they receive all that they are owed.
“Since we became aware of this issue, we have introduced new quality control processes and improved training to help ensure this does not happen again.”