Women aged 65+: Is your state pension being underpaid?
Thousands of women in the UK may be receiving too little state pension. An error by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) means a huge number of older women are owed nearly £7,000 in state pension back pay.
Women most likely to have been underpaid include widows, divorcees and those who depend on their husband’s pension contributions for some of their pension entitlement. Other eligible women are those who reached state pension age before April 2016 and women aged 80 and over.
Pensions consultancy firm Lane, Clarke & Peacock (LCP) flagged the underpayments in May 2020 and since then the DWP has been reimbursing eligible women, with an official repayment scheme in place since January 2021.
The discrepancy is due to computer errors coupled with a failure by the DWP to increase women’s state pension payments when their husbands reached state pension age, or when they reached the age of 80 or had died.
Which women may be eligible for back pay in state pension?
The underpayment only relates to women who reached state pension age before April 2016. If you turned 65 after that date, you will be receiving the new state pension amount and the underpayment does not apply.
What groups of women are eligible for back payments?
Married women with low pension entitlements (because they had gaps in their National Insurance record), who reached state pension age before April 2016, had the option to claim a state pension based on their husband’s records of National Insurance contributions. The pension was 60% of the basic pension rate with eligibility from when the husband reached state pension age. From 2008, the claim was done automatically by the DWP but prior to this, women would have had to put in a claim to get the extra money.
Widows should have seen their pension increase when their husband died as depending on their late husband’s contribution record, they should have been receiving up to 100% basic state pension as well as at least 50% of his additional state pension.
Women who divorced after retiring may be eligible for back payments provided they have not remarried.
Women aged 80 and over, regardless of their national insurance contribution record, as long as they pass a basic residency test.
Sons/ daughters and widowers of women whose state pension may have been underpaid during their lives, particularly where the husbands turned 65 after March 2008.
Women getting the graduated retirement benefit (GRB) of £1 a week under the scheme which ran from 1961-1975. Nearly 24,000 women are getting GRB.
How many women have been underpaid their state pension?
The DWP says it wrote to women affected but many say they never received a letter, which is why so many women may still be owed thousands of pounds.
Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at consultants LCP which highlighted the discrepancy, has estimated that over 230,000 women are thought to have been underpaid by the DWP.
How much unpaid state pension could I be owed?
The full basic state pension from April 2023 is £156.20 per week (from 2022-2023 it was £141.85 a week and the rate for married women claiming 60% was £85.11 a week).
The new flat-rate state pension (for people who reached state pension age after April 2016) is £203.85 a week (from 2022-2023 it was £185.15)
For 2021-22, the full basic state pension was £137.60 per week, and the rate for married women claiming 60% was £82.45 per week. It was lower in previous years, £80.45 in 2020-21.
If you tot up 52 weeks of married woman’s pension from 2008 to 2021 the money you are owed could be over £45,000.
The latest data from the DWP shows £209.3 million has already been repaid to 31,817 women since the correction exercise began in January 2021.
The average arrears payments being given to affected married women are £6,929 and for those over 80 it is £3,172.
How do I find out if I am owed more state pension?
The easiest way is to ring the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469.
You can write to them at:
The Pension Service
Post Handling Site A
Make sure you have:
Your name, your date of birth and your National Insurance number
Your current annual basic state pension
Your husband's name, date of birth (and date of death if this applies) and NI number
His current basic state pension, or last known before he died
If it seems very complicated you can always ask a financial adviser to help you.
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.”
To find out what benefits you can claim while receiving a state pension click here.
Article By: Sue Learner
Last Updated: 12 Apr 2023
Following postponement of the move to stage four to, provisionally, 19th July, follow this link to find the latest news and advice on protecting yourself and others, and also changes to things such as group gatherings, visits to care homes and more.
All of the Kingfisher team have now had their first covid vaccination jabs and most have already had their second. We’re really pleased to reward our colleagues with £50 Sainsbury vouchers when they get their second jabs and here are some of the team celebrating with their vouchers! Well done team always leading with their hearts to protect our Services Users and our community. We are so proud of you all and you so deserve this token from us.
Please remember that there is a lot of this very unpleasant virus about and it will be predominantly those who fail to take reasonable precautions who catch it. Remember also that even if you have had both jabs you may not be immune to all strains of coronavirus, although you are very likely to be less susceptible to infection and to suffer less serious symptoms.
Make sure that you continue to protect yourselves and others and remember to follow all guidance and restrictions including the instruction of ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’:
Wash hands keep washing your hands regularly
Cover face wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
Make space stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions
Fresh air dilutes the virus particles and can blow them away, risk of infection is significantly lower outdoors
Professional body, United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA) has compiled and released an interesting report on the minimum viable price for home care services and have calculated it as currently £20.69 for an hour, rising to £21.43 in April 2021.
This is very interesting to us for a number of reasons, the first one that jumps out is that Kingfisher Care, as a well regarded top quality care provider, is able to charge rather less than this for a one hour call.
Next is the UKHCA's assumption in its calculations that all care workers are paid at minimum wage! While you occasionally hear such stories we believed this was actually few and far between with, as we believe, most providers in this area paying substantially more than this minimum rate. Kingfisher Care further believe that they are one of the leaders in pay for Carers with a comprehensive package including various incentives and bonuses. We do this to ensure we attract the best possible Carers and also because they deserve it!
Read more in the attached links and please feel free to pass your comments along to us:
An invitation to the Leicestershire Care Professional of the
Year Awards with details on how to virtually join the event.
At Kingfisher Care we are all very proud to be represented
again with Leanne being nominated for Care Professional
of the Year. Thank you for your support.
"We at Inspired to Care are eagerly anticipating the live virtual
Care Professional of the Year Awards 2020 event which takes place
on Thursday 28 January at 7pm. We would love for you, your staff, and
the people who use your services to join us to celebrate adult social care
in Leicestershire. It is completely free to attend and will last for approximately one hour.
The virtual awards will be streamed within a new event hosting platform called The Awards Room. Here you will be able to watch the live stream, but also interact with other attendees and you will be able to post public comments in the chat room feature.
In order to be able to access the Awards everyone must register for their free ticket by visiting the following URL below and then clicking on the Get a Ticket button:
Once you have clicked on this, you will be required to register and create an account. Once you have registered, you will then be asked to enter the validation code which will have been emailed to you. Please check to see if the validation email has been filtered to your Spam folder. Within the email you will then be asked to validate your account. Please click the link on the email to validate your account or alternatively input the code given into the web page. A tab will then open with your ticket details on. Please ensure you have entered your first name, last name and email address correctly and click complete.
You will then receive further emails thanking you for registering and notifying that you will soon receive more information on how to access the Awards Room. In addition The Awards Room will also notify you that your ticket has been approved and allocated to you.
Closer to the date of the awards, we will then send you a link to join the Awards Room. After this you will also be sent automated emails reminding you to join the Awards Room prior to the date of the awards and on the date of the event.
You will be able to log into the Awards Room on the day with the email and password you created when registering. The platform we are using for the event will automatically group you into virtual tables with colleagues who have the same company email address as you. Please note the amount of people you can have on a table is unlimited. You will be able to network with attendees privately as well as in the main chat room. If you did use your own personal email address when registering, you will be placed in the public gallery and not on your organisations table.
We have been told that we will be receiving additional material explaining how to use the features within the Awards Room and this will be sent directly to you.
Remember to share your celebration photos on social media and use the hashtag is #LeicsLiveCareAwards and tag Inspired to Care Facebook: @InspiredtocareLeicestershire and Instagram: @inspired.to.care
Further reminders and details will be sent to you nearer the time, but if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us."
A lovely heartfelt review from the daughter of two of our loveliest Service Users:
"I turned to Kingfishers in Hinckley last November 2019, desperate to find some decent home care for my mum and dad and was so reassured by a kind warm Kingfisher voice on the phone that there was a way to provide proper care for them at a time, when they were really becoming quite immobilised and unable to cope with daily tasks.
Kingfishers have been wonderful throughout mum and dad’s last difficult year together. They gave me such peace of mind (and I had been so worried about mum and dad on their own in the house) , and I realised they were in very good hands . All the team have been great, without exception and showed that they really did care, and would go above and beyond to ensure that adequate help was given, no matter what the situation. Mum loved the daily company and chats and looked forward to the visits. Even dad, who was gruff and suspicious to start with, grew to really like the team and depend on each visit. He had refused care for a while , a very common thing with the elderly when they just don’t want to accept /admit they need help ) but Kingfishers achieved what I thought was the impossible, and found a magical way to gently persuade and convince him that it was a good thing to have a bit of help at home. It’s a big step for the elderly to let strangers into their home and Kingfishers made it a very smooth transition, gradually increasing the care when needed and trust had been built up.
There were various adventures, and escapades, difficult days, where mum and dad both had a fall or two, or needed urgent attention from a doctor, all of which is inevitable at their ripe old age , but each time , Kingfishers were there , on it very quickly and fetched appropriate help . They gave advice about each stage, when hospital equipment was needed, Kate always made sure that the right people were chased up swiftly and firmly (no –one messes with Kate! ) to get a result , and I knew they would always find the best way forward for mum and dad . I was impressed at the good communication also with myself to always give me updates, and information as to what was going on. Whenever I went to stay with my parents, I could see the carers in action, giving of their best and cheering mum and dad up each day with their positive attitudes and attention to their needs. Always with a sense of humour as well which is just what the elderly need! And all this through difficult Covid times as well , Kingfishers rolled with it and found a way to keep delivering their excellent service.
It’s a difficult job, but it’s not a job you do if your heart isn’t in it, and all the Kingfisher team are dedicated, compassionate people who understand the needs of the elderly, and gently give the help they need. They really understand old people and what they are going through.
They have made mum and dads last year so much more bearable, enjoyable and given them the security they needed at a time when they felt so vulnerable. They made such a difference to their lives.
In short, I cannot recommend them highly enough and will always sing their praises to friends or anyone who is thinking of using their services. I don’t know if all home care agencies could be this good, but Kingfishers set the standards very high for all the rest! Many, many thanks for all you did for mum and dad."
Thank you so much for letting us share your appreciation,
Latest Coronavirus Update
As expected, with the relaxation of some restrictions, the rate of infection has started to climb again. This has led to increased restrictions on gatherings, headlined by the government’s ‘rule of six’, restricting social gatherings, whether indoors or outside, to a maximum of six individuals. When you do socialise, please make sure that the people you’re with are following good infection control practice – please make sure that you and yours follow this advice;
try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
wash your hands as soon as you get home
wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people, such as on public transport, in shops and in hospitals
Boost to First Aid Training
We are very pleased that Kate has successfully completed a first aid course which has not only honed her skills but also allows her to teach as a practical first aid trainer. Basic First Aid skills are already part of the training Kingfisher provides to new Carers and as part of our update training. We are bringing Kate’s new skills fully into our training modules so that your Kingfisher Carers are even better equipped to help you in the event of an emergency.
Following on from the massive success of our first robotic cat as a companion for our Service Users, we are so pleased to have been donated an additional mouser by the lovely family of one of our Service Users. Thank you so much - we are incredibly pleased about this as the demand for our first feline has been so high. Find Christine on our Facebook page telling you more about our new addition.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.
We are very proud to announce that colleagues in the Kingfisher Care team have won in the finals for the Leicestershire Live/Leicester Mercury Carer of the Year awards! Colleagues won Care Leader of the Year and Community Care Professional of the Year. Here they are with supporters at the gala dinner held at Leicester's Grand Hotel.
Lauren also did extremely well and was a finalist for Best Newcomer of the Year. Everybody had a fantastic time at the awards ceremony and dinner. Many thanks to Inspired to Care and all the other sponsors.
Here at Kingfisher we have offered our Carers the opportunity to drive a brand new Kingfisher car to help them get around on their calls (and for all their other driving as well). We’re pleased to announce the arrival of our first one, pictured here in its Kingfisher livery.