FORMER stay-at-home mums with small state pensions are due payouts of up to £10,000 after a government blunder left them short-changed.
Tens of thousands of women did not get the hike they were due when their husbands turned 65, it has emerged.
Women whose weekly payout is less than £80 and who retired before pensions were revamped in 2016 could have missed out.
Campaigner and former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb says the error was, in some cases, down to a failing in the Government’s computers and he is now urging families to check.
Payments should have risen to 60 per cent of their husband’s basic state pension, which was the amount women with low National Insurance payments got under the old pension system.
That means they would get £80.45 a week, instead of the more typical figure of £67 a week for women with a small state pension.
The old pension system was based on the idea that men were breadwinners and women would depend on them.
It was decided that married women could pay a reduced rate of NI contributions, known as the “married woman’s stamp”.
This meant they were not paying towards their own state pension, but when their husband retired they could get an uplift to 60 per cent of his pension so long as he had a full record of contributions.
Married women who had not paid the stamp but had missed out on making contributions due to staying at home with the kids also qualified for the boost to 60 per cent.
Steve explained: “The old system was all rooted in the 1940s world view of women being financially dependent on their husbands, and the two of them being part of one household with shared finances.
“It was a pretty old-fashioned way of doing things.”
The policy was deemed unfair and was changed in 2016 so women’s pensions were no longer linked to their husbands.
But Steve has discovered those who retired before then have not been getting the increase to 60 per cent — and are due payouts.
How much they will get in compensation depends on when they became eligible for the boost.
If it was between 2008 and 2016, they should get all their losses repaid because the Government should have upped their pensions automatically.
But those whose husbands retired before April 2008 had to apply for the extra cash themselves. Women in this position who missed out can only get a year of back-dated payments. Steve is now demanding the Government urgently investigates the issue and automatically increases pensions.
He also is calling for a review of the rule that women who were eligible before 2008 can only backdate a claim for 12 months.
He said: “It is truly shocking that thousands of women are being short-changed on their state pensions.
While the Department for Work and Pensions is willing to put things right on a case-by-case basis when individuals get in touch, there is clearly a systematic problem here.
“It is time for the DWP to take this issue seriously and launch a full investigation into how so many women have been missing out for so long.”
Steve, who uncovered the issue, has launched a new online tool at lcp.uk.com for women to work out if they have lost out.
Typically, women on pensions less than £80 per week are affected.
If you use the calculator and think you are eligible for a top-up in either scenario, contact the Government’s pension service.
Details of how to do so are on the calculator, or at gov.uk/contact-pension-service. A DWP spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid their 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.”
- Have you been affected? Email [email protected] the-sun.co.uk