12 May 2021
Some people over state pension age are not entitled to a state pension. This is particularly likely to be relevant to those who arrive in the UK relatively late in their working life or even post retirement.
A comparison of statistics for the British resident population and the number of people drawing a state pension suggests a discrepancy which cannot be explained purely by people knowingly deferring their state pension for a few years, nor purely by lack of entitlement. The gap between the total pensioner population and those receiving a retirement pension suggests more is at play.
This paper attempts to quantify the unexplained shortfall and to consider what might be causing it. The ‘mystery of the missing pensioners’ also makes a series of recommendations to raise awareness amongst older people not getting a state pension and calls on the government to do much more to make sure that people draw the pension to which they are entitled.
For more information for those with no state pension click here.
LCP has created a calculator for married women to help you identify if you may be affected. By entering a few details about you and your husband, you’ll be able to get an indication of whether you may be receiving too little here.
You can also read the first and second paper we did which explores the background to this issue in greater depth. The problem affects a set of women covered by the ‘old’ state pension system – that is, those who reached state pension age before 6th April 2016.
Key discussion points include:
- There are several legitimate reasons why not everyone aged 70 or above would be expected to be getting a state pension which include long term deferral, major national insurance gaps and receipt of other benefits. But these reasons only explain a fraction of the ‘missing’ quarter of a million pensioners;
- There are around 107,000 people (65,000 women, 42,000 men) in Great Britain who are aged 80 or over but have zero state pension *despite the existence of a non-contributory state pension for this age group*. We believe that a large proportion of this group could make a successful claim for a Category D state pension if they were aware of it; and
- For those who were previously on a *zero* state pension, the upgrade to the Category D pension rate does not happen automatically at age 80 – a claim has to be made. However, there are many reasons why this age group are not claiming including lack of awareness, language barriers (where for some people English may not necessarily be their first language thus increasing the barrier to claim) and practical barriers (eg home country documentation not being accepted in the UK) and reduced mental capacity and ability to cope with issues such as claiming pensions and benefits.