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Are thousands
of older women being short-changed on their state pension?

Policy papers

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Since the post-war National Insurance system was created, special provision has been made for married women who might be financially dependent upon their husbands in retirement.

Enquiries from readers of LCP Partner Steve Webb’s column in ‘This is Money’ highlighted that some married women may actually be missing out on part of their state pension entitlement.

This paper explores the issue in greater depth, finding that tens of thousands of older women may be entitled to a higher rate of state pension than they are currently receiving. In some cases, affected women could be owed backdated payments running into thousands of pounds and the total amount owed could be up to £100m. 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 findings include:

  • The problem is particularly acute for older married women who may not realise that they had to put in a claim for a higher pension when their husband turned 65.
  • The issue also appears to impact other married women, some widows and divorced women and for the over 80s.
  • LCP is calling on the government to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency, and to automatically uplift the pensions of those who are entitled. 

LCP has created a calculator 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 read an update to this report which looks at the scale of repayments, what has been learned and what needs to happen next here.

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