I hope it can help after reading a previous column of yours on National Insurance payments for married women.
I was born in 1952. Since last November I have been trying to get a pension forecast from the Department of Work and Pensions to see if I can afford to retire.
I am married and my husband is alive and receives a state pension. I have paid the stamp of a married woman for more than 30 years and I continue working but now exempt from paying NI.
Retirement funding: DWP wrongly offers £6,000 lump sum, not £32,000, after state pension postponed by eight years (file image)
I finally received a letter from the DWP telling me to contact them under this reference, but there is no reference number or details in the letter.
The letter says that I have postponed applying for state pension since 2014 and that my weekly rate would be £14.94. I think you are saying that I would get an extra £12.34 a week if I had started taking my pension from October 2022.
I just received the letter but when trying to call the number has changed. I thought about writing, but then I thought about how long this answer had taken me, almost a year, so I thought I’d try it with you first.
Can you help or just clarify what I should expect to receive? I think it may be £85 per week based on your column.
The government website says you can dispute your amount once you claim it, but I’d really like to know now so it’s right from the start.
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Steve Webb responds: Having delayed your pension payment for some eight years, it is obviously important that you are now able to obtain accurate information about what you are entitled to so that you can make an informed decision.
It amazes me that it took almost a year to receive a letter from the DWP about this and, as I will explain, that the information in it is completely incorrect.
Although he has not yet claimed his state pension, due to his year of birth (1952) he is under the old state pension system, before significant changes were made in 2016.
Under that system, when you postpone claiming your pension, you can have a much larger pension when you finally retire, or you can opt for a lump sum (plus a little interest) for all late payments.
When she reached retirement age in 2014, her husband was below state retirement age, so his entitlement at that time was based solely on his own National Insurance record.
As she paid the reduced ‘married woman stamp’ over several decades, she had accumulated very little state pension in her own right.
However, the point that the DWP appears to have missed in their original letter is that in 2016 her husband reached retirement age.
At that time you became entitled to a married woman’s pension based on your contributions. In today’s money, that would be worth at least £85 a week.
The first letter she received from the DWP (which took almost a year to obtain) did not mention this enhanced pension based on her husband’s contributions.
The letter referred to an initial pension entitlement in 2014 of just under £15 per week, and gave him the option of a permanent ‘bonus’ of around £12 per week if he wanted to take a higher regular pension or a single time. sum of just over £6,000.
This was clearly wrong as it did not take into account that her husband reached retirement age during the deferral period.
My concern is that if you had not been vigilant and contacted, you may have missed out on over £26,000 of a lump sum that was rightfully yours.
When I took his case with the DWP, he wrote him a second letter that contained very different information.
Now she is quoted a basic pension of £85.75 per week (based largely on her husband’s contributions).
Plus, because you’ve deferred for eight years, you’re now offered the choice of a regular raise of another £65 a week on top or a lump sum of over £32,000.
Their experiences show how important it is to challenge state pension awards and notices if you are not sure how they have been resolved or if you suspect there may be an error.
My concern is that if he had not been vigilant and contacted, he could have missed out on over £26,000 of a lump sum that was rightfully his.
I often wonder how many other people have found dealing with DWP so challenging that they eventually gave up and just took what they get paid for. Your example shows that it is always worth persevering.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We regret the incorrect information initially provided to Ms. [name deleted] and I have sent you an updated State Pension Prognosis that outlines your rights and options for taking your State Pension.’
Ask Steve Webb a pension question
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is Uncle Agony from This Is Money.
He’s ready to answer your questions, whether you’re still saving, in the process of leaving work, or juggling your finances in retirement.
Steve left the Department for Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a partner at the actuary and consultancy firm Lane Clark & Peacock.
If you would like to ask Steve a question about pensions, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If Steve can’t answer your question, you can also contact MoneyHelper, a government-backed organization that provides free pension assistance to the public. can be found here and his number is 0800 011 3797.
SteveWe get a lot of questions about state pension provisions and COPE, the outsourced pension equivalent. If you write to Steve about this topic, he answers a typical reader question. here. Includes links to several of Steve’s previous columns on state pension forecasting and outsourcing, which may be helpful.
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