State pension denied? Here’s how to combat it because we don’t trust DWP to find bugs, says Tanya Jeffrey
If you were denied a state pension or an unexpectedly reduced benefit at the age of 66, it is worth challenging the decision.
A joint investigation with our columnist and former Pensions Secretary Steve Webb has uncovered a growing number of new and serious errors and we are not satisfied that the Department for Works and Pensions is properly reviewing women’s records.
Some who have paid tickets to married women and/or received child support in recent decades have not been included in the calculation of their state pension.
Forgetting the State Pension: Some Older Women 66 . Refusal to pay incorrectly
Webb, now a partner at Pension Advisory LCP, says, “I’m at a point now where I’m starting to assume that a low or no state pension is wrong.”
It’s a damning indictment of the DWP’s ability to get its money right – even after the previous scandal caused an estimated £1.5billion in lost state pensions for older women. (This debacle, also uncovered by Webb and This Is Money, is yet to be rectified.)
It also confirms that if you’ve been turned down for a state pension or received only a suspiciously low amount, it’s worth taking individual action.
Our latest story explains what to do, including web sending information and money if we can help.
If you think a family member or friend who has reached statutory retirement age in recent years may have missed it, please send them this link.
The women whose cases we’ve uncovered so far have lost thousands of pounds during a typical retirement, and some have been awarded huge contributions.
A woman tragically died before a state pension could be denied and her grieving family struggled to receive her two-year allowance, a case that shamed the DWP.
Unfortunately, while the DWP says it is committed to fixing mistakes where they occur, it vehemently denies that any recent state pension denials will be reviewed.
Additionally, a DWP response to an internet freedom of information request suggests it conducts a more thorough investigation before telling a woman that she is ineligible for a state pension. .
Steve Webb answers your pension questions
As such, it is not clear if the DWP will be systematically investigating past cases, and that is why we are urging women to come forward to reconsider Zero and Low state pensions.
Add to that, of course, the DWP’s long call waits, and the phone lines now appear to be manned by people just taking messages, rather than someone with knowledge of state pensions, which we take as old bugs. Was reinstalled for repair.
Feedback from readers suggests that their messages weren’t being sent anywhere that makes sense, and that any filtering systems that experienced contributors use to rate them must be flawed.
The women whose cases we took up and ultimately found that they had been wrongly denied a state pension initially called the DWP several times themselves, but to no avail.
And those who had holes in their Social Security records were not passed on to HMRC, which is responsible for fixing them before the state pension is recalculated.
The best way to submit a request for review may be in writing – contact details can be found here.
The failure to uncover flaws in state pensions is a blemish on the record of the current government and particularly the politicians who have led the DWP in recent years, Labor and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and Pensions Secretary Guy Opperman.
Both have at times accused historical wrongs and implied that previous governments were responsible for the mess they now have to fix, but this is a selective and fraudulent excuse for their own shortcomings.
Contrary to his record over the past few years, no one can doubt that had Opperman’s predecessors been in power they would have tried their best to expose the same problems.
It was the relentless web that brought the underpayment scandal to light and has since helped many women settle their individual pensions, while staunch activist Ross Altman endlessly called and urged government to action. Because errors were discovered.
Under Opperman, the DWP has shown a reluctance and lack of transparency to deal with the shocking failures that still surface under his oversight.
After five years with DWP, Opperman’s legacy lives on.
This is tantamount to: pension plans designed to explain what they are doing to combat climate change; medium MOT; an incomplete retirement dashboard; Uncertified “collective” pension; Campaigns to take down pension loans are so ineffective that the private sector has been forced to step in and help during the current cost-of-living crisis; New parents still risk losing state pensions over innocent child support mistakes; And a nuisance where new retirees, both male and female, left without pay and even starved for months.
It’s not good enough. The disruption of state pensions is life-changing for many women (which women almost always don’t) as it decides whether or not they get their earned income in old age, and worst of all. Cases falsely condemn them to poverty.
Advertise to prevent this from happening to you or someone you know – here’s the link again.
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