Married women may have missed out on thousands of pounds of state pension benefits because important letters have been sent to their husbands.
Wives are entitled to a state pension equal to 60 percent of their husband's pension when he retires. Before 2008, however, they had to assert the claim themselves.
However, Money Mail can show today that the government only told its husbands when women were eligible for the better rate.
Briefly changed: Wives are entitled to a state pension equal to 60 percent of their husband's pension when he retires, but many miss it because the government has only communicated this to their husbands
The Ministry of Labor and Pensions is now facing demands to fully reimburse women who have lost because they did not know that they could file claims in their husband's file.
Married women who have reached the statutory retirement age before April 2016 are entitled to 60 percent of their husband's basic state pension if they reach the state pension age.
This means that the wife of a man who is now receiving a maximum of £ 134.25 a week should receive at least £ 80.45.
However, analysis by former retirement minister Sir Steve Webb, who is now partner with Lane Clark and Peacock, has shown that tens of thousands of married women may get less.
The DWP has since given over £ 330,000 to 30 women who missed it. However, retroactive payouts for women entitled to the better rate before March 2008 are limited to just 12 months.
This is because wives had to claim the better rate themselves before that date, which should now be paid automatically.
The DWP provided details of the increased rate for married women in information brochures that were sent to both men and women shortly before reaching retirement age.
This means that women were only informed about the rate at the age of 60 – possibly years before their husband retired and they could claim it.
When these married women were finally entitled to the cheaper rate, the information they needed was not sent to them, but included in the pension package that was sent to their husband before his 65th birthday.
The pressure on the government is now increasing to fully reimburse all women who have failed to emerge. Women were not informed directly.
Married women who have reached the statutory retirement age before April 2016 are entitled to 60 percent of their husband's basic state pension if they reach the state pension age
Sir Steve says: “To be honest, it is insulting if the government relies on information contained in a form sent to her husband.
“There are thousands of older married women today who have not received a higher state pension for more than a decade because they simply didn't know they had to apply for a survey when their husband turned 65. It is unacceptable to continue punishing them.
"The DWP needs to identify these women, make sure they get the right pension, and bring them back to where they would have been if their rights had been clearly explained to them at the time."
Baroness Ros Altmann adds: “It is simply not common thinking. This is another example of a policy that does not understand people's lives.
"What if husband and wife were no longer together? It's just not good enough. If these women were never given a fair chance to make a claim at that time, the government must correct it. & # 39;
Terri Fisher, 73, found that she had been underpaid for almost 13 years after reading Money Mail.
The retired postbridge, Devon secretary received £ 63.10 a week and had no idea she was entitled to £ 80.45 because her husband David, 77, is receiving full state pension.
S he says: "It is I who is so sure that it is reasonable and only polite to send me the letter?"
When women were entitled to a state pension of 60 percent of the husband, the information they needed was not sent to them, but was included in the package sent to their husband
Terri estimates she missed more than £ 800 last year alone. But the mother of two says that she deserves a full retroactive payment.
She says: & # 39; It's shocking. It is not their money, it is my money. & # 39;
Anita Wager, 75, also found that her pension was tight by more than £ 20 a week. The mother of two only gets £ 59.07 a week, but should raise £ 80.45 because her husband Gary, 77, has a full pension.
But here, too, the DWP will only date back the extra money for the past year, rather than the 12 it missed.
Anita from Dunstable in Bedfordshire also cannot remember seeing a letter saying she could get the better price.
She says, "I'm a little upset. I always thought they knew what they were talking about. If I did not have it and was entitled to do so, I should be able to have it now. & # 39;
It comes when Secretary of State Guy Opperman pushed aside opposition calls to launch a full investigation and contact all affected women last week.
Sir Steve says women who missed it because they didn't see the letter could forward their case to Parliament's Ombudsman, arguing that they had lost due to a government error.
He says the rules were changed because the system didn't work and women were lost.
He adds: “If you changed the rules, you should have dated them back. But here we are 12 years later and they are still missing. It is outrageous.
& # 39; It doesn't buzz, it's not charity. This is your social security pension, it should be yours. & # 39;
Sir Steve says women who have changed at short notice before 2008 should first contact their MPs and ask them to write to Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Labor and Pensions, to request full repayments on their behalf.
He says if the DWP rejects the complaint, they should write to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
A DWP spokesman says: “We are aware of a number of cases in which individuals have underpaid their state pension. We have corrected our documents and refunded those affected as soon as errors were found.
"We are looking for more cases, and if any are found, premiums are checked and any arrears paid."
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