MARTIN LEWIS uses his knowledge and expertise to provide help to many people up and down the country. However, it is his latest stark warning to female state pensioners which is particularly important.
Martin Lewis uses his platform to offer top financial tips and tricks to Britons searching for the answers to vital queries. But the famous money saving expert has released new guidance which specifically applies to thousands of married women and their State Pension sum. Martin has highlighted that hundreds of thousands of married women are likely to be missing out on a higher State Pension pot due to a particular action many are unaware of.
Those who hit State Pension age before April 2016 fall under the old, or ‘basic’ State Pension system established by the government.
Under these arrangements, if a woman has a State Pension which is less than 60 percent of her husband’s, they are due a top up to that amount.
A recent study undertaken by Lane Clark Peacock (LCP) revealed many women often did not realise they could put in a claim for the higher pension when their husband turned 65.
As a result, married women, alongside widows, the divorced, and over 80s are likely to be affected by this news.
However, another reason women could be missing out is due to a computer error which is likely to have affected many.
Those who have husbands who retired after March 16, 2008, should have been automatically provided with the boost.
However, a glitch in the system means some did not receive the increase in their State Pension sum and could be missing out years down the line.
The study from LCP also estimates backdated payments could reach a total of £100million, so it is important for women to check their records.
Women are entitled to receive 60 percent of the basic state pension their husband receives when reaching State Pension age.
In the 2020/21 tax year, the full basic state pension stands at £134.25 weekly.
This means married women claiming on this basis could receive £80.45 per week if their husband is or was on the full basic State Pension sum.
As a result, women could end up being entitled to £4,183.40 over the course of the year.
This is a particularly significant sum for those who are looking to secure a comfortable retirement in their later years.
Martin has warned that different groups may need to take different actions.
Those who have a husband who reached State Pension age on or after March 17, 2008 can have their claim backdated all the way if they missed out.
This is due to the computer error at the Department for Work and Pensions which has been subsequently corrected, allowing women to claim the correct rate.
However, sadly, those who have a husband who reached State Pension age before March 17, 2008, could potentially have missed out significantly.
Under government rules, this can only be backdated for a year, as the boosted payment was not automatic.
Those in this group can still claim at the correct rate, but can only receive backdated payments of up to 12 months.
The former pensions minister, Sir Steve Webb, has called upon the government to reassess the 2008 rule to ensure female pensioners do not miss out.
Martin has also urged people to contact the Pension Service to ask how much they are getting in pension, and prompted husbands and wives to check their annual State Pension statements.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid state pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified. We are checking for further cases, and if any are found awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid.”