Up to 10,000 recently retired women could get more state pension than they have been given. To have a chance of this boost you must fulfil several conditions.
First, you were born on 6 April 1953 or later and you have claimed the new state pension. This extra pension cannot be claimed by anyone who is older than that. Second, you must have been married at some point before pension age. Third, when you were married you must have worked and paid the married woman’s National Insurance contributions at some time in the 35 years before you reached state pension age.
At the time they were paid, these reduced contributions earned women no rights to a pension at all. Instead, they could claim a reduced “Category B” pension paid on their husband’s contributions. When the new state pension began, men and women were paid a pension based solely on their own contributions, there were no pensions for wives. Women born before 6 April 1953 can still get this Category B pension, which is currently worth £77.45 a week.
If you fulfil those three conditions and your new state pension is currently below £129.20 if you are divorced or widowed, or below £77.45 if you are still married, then you will be paid extra pension to boost it to those levels, backdated to your state pension age or that of your husband, whichever is the later.
To claim or check, call the state pension helpline 0800 731 7898. They may say it is not true. They are wrong. The Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed this rule exists but said the extra should be added automatically.
However, former Pensions Minister Steve Webb, who put this rule into the new state pension, doubts that. He tells Radio Times that he knows of one woman who had not had this extra added and says, “ The pension system is very complex. The public cannot be expected to be on top of all the detail.
Ministers must now do a thorough investigation to see if people have missed out and put things right urgently.” He is now Director of Policy at insurance firm Royal London.
If you need advice about your private or workplace pension, call My Pension Expert on 0808 301 7841.