WASPI, otherwise known as Women Against State Pension Inequality, campaigners have urged women to check their State Pension as they could be missing out on money to which they are entitled.
WASPI are well known for campaigning for women to achieved “fair transitional State Pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s”. Since 2015, its cause has gained traction and drawn attention to the State Pension age change. However, there is another issue which is likely to affect retired women that it is worth paying attention to.
Hundreds of thousands of women could be missing out on a higher State Pension pot due to a particular action many are unaware of.
People who reach State Pension age before April 2016, fall under the basic State Pension system.
In accordance with 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 study undertaken recently by Lane Clark Peacock (LCP), showed many women often did not realise they could claim a higher pension sum when their husband reached the age of 65.
But women could also be missing out due to a computer error, which it is important to pay attention to.
Women who have husbands who retired after March 16, 2008, should have been automatically provided with the boost.
But a system glitch meant some did not receive the increase to their pension sum.
Backdated payments, according to the LCP study, could reach a total of £100million.
Women have therefore been urged to check their State Pension records.
And the message has been driven home by a member of the WASPI campaign.
Hilary Simpson, member of the Cheltenham branch of WASPI spoke to Gloucestershire Live about a woman who contacted the DWP on behalf of her mother, who will be 91 this year.
She said: “Her daughter discovered that she had not received the uplift she was entitled to.
“She had a response by letter a couple of weeks ago, and £28,000 was paid into her mum’s account last Tuesday.”
Various groups of women, however, may be required to take different actions.
Women who have husbands who reached State Pension age on or after March 17, 2008, can have a claim backdated all the way if they missed out.
This is because of the computer error at the Department for Work and Pensions which has been subsequently corrected.
However, those who have a husband reaching State Pension age before March 17, 2008, could potentially miss out.
Government rules mean these women can only have payments 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.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in June about the matter, 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.”
Of course, the WASPI campaign asserts many women are missing out on State Pension money in another way.
The campaign believes the increase to the State Pension age disadvantaged women born in the 1950s, who they state were not given ample enough notice to prepare for an age increase.
While WASPI does not ask for the pension age to revert back to 60, the group takes issue with the lack of notice.
The group has called for the DWP to provide financial support to women in terms of restitution.