We read the financial press regularly to keep abreast of developments in our industry that will be of use to our clients. One that caught our eye recently affects divorced women who reached State Pension age before 6th April 2016.
If this is you, you could be owed State Pension payments because your entitlement falls within the old state pension system. This makes provision for divorced women, in that they can substitute their ex-husband’s national insurance record for their own up to the date of the divorce.
This uplift is not automatically applied for those who divorced after State Pension age. In this case divorcees should contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to request it.
Consultants Lane Clark & Peacock LLP (LCP) conducted analysis into the wider issue of underpaid State Pensions, and their key findings are noted below:
- LCP estimate that the Department for Works and Pensions has already refunded several million pounds to hundreds of women. The average refund is just over £9,000.
- Although refunds are taxable, they are not taxed as if the money had all been due in a single year; instead they are treated as if the pension had been paid on time, which means many women will not have to pay any tax on their refund.
- LCP identified 6 groups who should check their eligibility:
- Married women whose husband turned 65 before 17th March 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60% rate (currently £80.45 per week in basic pension);
- Widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died;
- Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive;
- Over 80s who are receiving a basic pension of less than £80.45;
- Widowers and heirs of married women;
- Divorced women, and particularly those who divorced post-retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex husband
LCP found that a married woman previously on the standard ‘married woman’s rate’ of £80.45 can instead get a basic pension of £134.25 if her husband has a full contribution record, equating to an additional £50,000 over the course of a 20-year retirement.
You can read their full report here: https://www.lcp.uk.com/pensions-benefits/policy-papers/are-thousands-of-older-women-being-short-changed-on-their-state-pension/
There is also a calculator on their website to help you to assess whether you should be in receipt of a higher pension payment.
Please note that this communication does not constitute taxation advice. Should you require taxation advice please speak to a taxation specialist or accountant. Any personal advice in respect of taxation is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Further information about taxation rates, allowances and protections are available at https://www.gov.uk.