Are you due a Christmas present from the Government?

Tens of thousands of women are being underpaid their State Pension, recent research has identified* so are you due a Christmas present from the Government?

Successful claims are averaging £9,000 per person and it’s been estimated that £100m or more could be due to women as a result of past underpayments.

The errors have occurred due to a series of computer errors made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and a complex set of rules about entitlement.

The problem affects women who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and are covered by the old State Pension system.

Special rules were designed after the second world war which presumed that married women would be financially dependent on their husband, ex-husband or late husband. The rules enabled many of these women to claim a State Pension when their husband reached age 65, equivalent to 60% of the full basic State Pension rate.

These rules were abolished for those reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016 onwards, but many pensioners are entitled to claim via this older system.

Key groups affected

Married women whose husband turned 65 on or after 17 March 2008.

After this date, her State Pension should have been automatically increased to 60% rate when he reached pension age. For many women, this uplift was not implemented by the DWP.

Married women under the 60% rate whose husband turned 65 before 17 March 2008.

The law at the time expected woman to make a ‘second claim’ on his 65th birthday; of course, many didn’t know to do this, meaning they have been underpaid.

Divorced women

When a divorce happens post-retirement, DWP need to be notified to recalculate pensions.  For pre-retirement divorcees, the DWP should be contacted at the age of the woman’s retirement so they can make the necessary calculations regarding the ex-husband.


It’s important to check whether a widow is on the correct rate today and if they were, in fact, underpaid whilst their husband was alive.

We strongly encourage any married (or previously married) female clients and members of your family who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 to contact the DWP to query their State Pension rate. Although the DWP has plans to contact the affected women directly, this may take some time, so they are asking them to come forward.

Are you due a Christmas present from the Government? What a great Christmas gift it would be!

Department for Work and Pensions

Contact the Pension Service to get information about your State Pension and query your rate. Christmas opening hours are noted on their website below.

Telephone: 0800 731 7898 on a Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 2:30pm
Website: Department for Work and Pensions

> Find out more about Pension and Retirement Planning on our website.

*Source: Financial Times Adviser

Ready to connect? Start your journey today
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Innes Reid profile
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an agency for arbitrating of unresolved complaints
between regulated firms and their clients. Further details of the FOS can be found on its website:
© 2023 Innes Reid