06 August, 2020
Thousands of married women, widows and divorcees are being short-changed on their state pension. The basic pension pays £134.25 per week, anyone on less than £80.45 could be missing out.
It is not always widely known that married women, widows and divorcees can receive a pension rate based on their husband's national insurance contributions. Married women who reach state pension age before April 2016 are entitled to claim 60% of their husband's full basic state pension when he turns 65. Unfortunately, many women are unaware of this update as letters were addressed to their husband and wives were not directly informed. Prior to 2008, women had to claim this themselves, however now, these upgrades should be automatic by the DWP, but it appears that this may not have happened for everyone. Sadly, many women are losing out.
Older women are urged to check their state pension is correct and, if necessary, contact the DWP for potential back payments. Many retired women have won back payments of up to £17,000 after receiving a lower payment on their state pension.
Pensions are a complex area of law in any event and require expert advice at the time of divorce. Pension actuaries are appointed to consider the correct Cash Equivalent Transfer Values of pension schemes. It's always wise at that point to request a forecast of state pensions too. This can be a consideration when looking at how to apportion pensions.
If you feel you have been underpaid, contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 731 0469. If you are divorcing, remember to consider pensions and take independent legal advice. Pensions are complex and the information provided by pension companies can be very confusing. A solicitor can help you navigate through this and also advise you where it is likely that a pension has been undervalued.
For more information contact Rubina Vohra in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01254 580 000. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.