Underpaid state pension scandal is now feared to have hit thousands more women than DWP’s earlier estimate
Tens of thousands more women may have been short-changed on their state pensions than previously feared, new figures revealed.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) now estimates that around 221,000 people were underpaid due to historic admin errors — a dramatic 67 per cent rise on the previous projection of 132,000.
The damning DWP report slipped out last Thursday when Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister, and also showed that the cost of repaying those who have missed out has jumped by around £315 million to over £1.3 billion.
State pension: DWP now estimates around 221,000 people were underpaid due to historic admin errors, up 67% on the previous projection of 132,000
The state pension underpayment scandal affects mainly women, including wives, divorcees and widows.
The blunders date back to 1985 and relate to the failure to boost their state pensions in line with what their husbands were owed.
The DWP has also confessed to an error which meant credits for time spent at home caring for children — known as Home Responsibilities Protection — were not recorded accurately on some National Insurance records, accounting for the second largest number of underpayments.
Former pensions minister Steve Webb, now partner at LCP, says: ‘Not only is the cost of the underpayment correction exercise set to soar, the DWP is now admitting a whole new category of errors. In both cases it is women who will bear the brunt. We need much greater transparency.’
A DWP spokesman says: ‘We are fully committed to addressing these errors as quickly as possible. We have devoted significant resources towards completing this.’