Two groups of women could be paid by the end of next year – they include married women who should have received an upgraded State Pension and those aged over 80. The DWP stated those on CAT BL and CAT D should be completed in 2023 but could run through to “late 2024”.
The latest figures from DWP show £209.3 million in state pension underpayments have been repaid to 31,817 pensioners since the correction exercise began in January 2021 and the end of October 2022.
The latest report also shows that arrears payments made to affected married women average £6,929 and for those over 80, £3,172.
While the check and correction exercise affects mostly women, some men may have been underpaid too.
The latest update comes after shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP, asked DWP if it would be setting out a timeline for “repaying the remaining 200,000 pensioners identified in 2020 as having been underpaid their state pension”.
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In a written response earlier this month, Pensions Minister Laura Trott MP said: “As stated in DWP’s Annual Report and Accounts 2022, the Department expects to complete the exercise for CAT BL and CAT D by the end of 2023.
“For missed conversion cases, we aim to complete these as soon as we can but for this group, the exercise could run through to late 2024.
“The Government is fully committed to ensuring that any historical errors, unaddressed by previous Governments, are put right as quickly as possible.
“We have increased the number of people working on the exercise and at its peak, we plan to have around 1,500 staff dedicated to the exercise.
“Our delivery is backloaded, with case reviews expected to significantly increase this year and going forward.”
Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb who is now a partner at consultants LCP emphasised DWP figures implying that a total of 237,000 pensioners have been affected by errors.
He added that around £1.46 billion is still owed which leaves more than £1 billion outstanding.
He said: “With cost of living pressures affecting many elderly people on low incomes, it is essential that the pace of fixing these errors is stepped up and people get the money they are due as soon as possible.”
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Anyone who thinks they must be affected can call the pension service on 0800 731 0469.
Who may be due back payments for state pension?
There are six particular groups strongly encouraged to contact the pension service to see if they could be entitled to more state pension.
- Married women whose husband turned 65 before March 17, 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 percent rate
- Widows whose pension was not increased when their husbands died
- Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, particularly if he reached the age of 65 after March 17, 2008
- Over-80s who are receiving a basic State Pension of less than £80.45
- Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but was underpaid state pension during her lifetime
- Divorced women, particularly those who divorced after retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband
A DWP spokesperson said: “The action we are taking now will correct historical underpayments made by successive governments.
“We are fully committed to addressing these errors, not identified under previous governments, as quickly as possible.
“We have set up a dedicated team and devoted significant resources towards completing this, with further resources being allocated throughout 2023 to ensure pensioners receive the support to which they’re entitled.”
In the Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed the triple lock will be used to uprate the state pension next year. This guarantees state pensions increase by September’s inflation figure, wages or 2.5 percent, whichever is higher.
The guarantee means retirees are heading for a 10.1 percent increase to the state pension from next April.
The new state pension will increase to £815.40 a month, an increase of £74.80 from £740.60. The basic state pension will increase to £624.80 a month, an increase of £57.40 from £567.40.