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Married, divorced and widowed women being urged to check if they are being underpaid state pension

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married divorced and widowed women being urged to check if they are being underpaid state pension

Women are being urged to check whether they are being underpaid the state pension after a government blunder left tens of thousands missing out on money they are entitled to in their retirement.

Married, divorced and widowed women are the three groups who may have been affected by the pension mishap – which has already led the Department of Pensions to pay out £750,000. 

Experts believe as many as 130,000 women may have been short-changed to the tune of up to £100million because of the error, which followed a change to the pension system in 2008. 

Previously some women, who reached state pension age before April 2016, could claim more than the basic state pension depending on their husband’s National Insurance contributions. 

The scheme swapped from a claiming system to an automatic one in 2008 – but some women were not given the automatic uplift. 

One 96-year-old woman was deprived of £117k over 20 years while others such as Anne Psaros, 79, have been paid back more than £10,000 – around the average amount paid back to each woman by the DWP so far.

Anne Psaros, 79, was handed £11,600 after realising that the DWP failed to upgrade her pension to the married woman's rate when husband retired more than ten years ago

Anne Psaros, 79, was handed £11,600 after realising that the DWP failed to upgrade her pension to the married woman's rate when husband retired more than ten years ago

Anne Psaros, 79, was handed £11,600 after realising that the DWP failed to upgrade her pension to the married woman’s rate when husband retired more than ten years ago

Around 130,000 women may have been short-changed to the tune of £100m in total

Around 130,000 women may have been short-changed to the tune of £100m in total

Around 130,000 women may have been short-changed to the tune of £100m in total

The blunder was revealed following investigations by former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb and MailOnline’s financial section This is Money.

This is Money columnist Sir Steve and our pensions and investing editor Tanya Jefferies have highlighted the extent of the scandal since January and it featured in a report report by pensions consultants LCP (Lane Clark & Peacock) in May.

The six groups of women who could be due money by the DWP 

LCP is urging six particular groups to contact the DWP to see if they could be entitled to more state pension. They are:

1. Married women whose husband turned 65 before March 17 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 per cent rate.

2. Widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died.

3. Widows whose pension is now correct, but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, particularly if he reached the age of 65 after March 17 2008.

4. Over-80s who are receiving a basic pension of less than £80.45.

5. Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but was underpaid state pension during her lifetime.

6. Divorced women, particularly those who divorced after retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband.

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They say more than 160,000 people have visited a calculator on its website since it published the report, titled ‘Are tens of thousands of older women being underpaid state pension?’ 

Married, divorced and widowed women, as well as the heirs and successors of women who have been underpaid maybe able to claim a backdated refund.

LCP say that, while some women have been refunded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), it is urging more women to get their state pension checked.

Some women have told LCP that they have received large lump sum repayments from the DWP, with the average refund it is aware of sitting at just over £9,000, but some amounting to more than £100,000.

Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at LCP, said: ‘It is good news that DWP is checking its records to find married women who have been underpaid … But this record check must be comprehensive rather than narrow.’  

The issue has arisen because, under the old state pension system, which includes women who reached state pension age before April 2016, married women could claim a basic state pension at 60 per cent of the full rate based on their husband’s contributions, in cases where this would be bigger than the pension they could get based on their own contributions.

Before March 17, 2008, a married woman would need to make a claim to have her pension increased – but since that date the uplift should have happened automatically.

But LCP estimates that tens of thousands of ‘post-March 2008’ women have not had their pension automatically increased.

On top of this, tens of thousands of ‘pre-March 2008’ women are also thought not to have put in a claim to have their pension increased, and so have also been missing out.

Some women have told LCP that they have received large lump sum repayments from the DWP (pictured: Pensions Ministers Guy Opperman MP), with the average refund it is aware of sitting at just over £9,000, but some amounting to more than £100,000

Some women have told LCP that they have received large lump sum repayments from the DWP (pictured: Pensions Ministers Guy Opperman MP), with the average refund it is aware of sitting at just over £9,000, but some amounting to more than £100,000

Some women have told LCP that they have received large lump sum repayments from the DWP (pictured: Pensions Ministers Guy Opperman MP), with the average refund it is aware of sitting at just over £9,000, but some amounting to more than £100,000

LCP is urging six particular groups to contact the DWP to see if they could be entitled to more state pension.

Woman, 96, is deprived of £117k over 20 years 

Rosemary Chattell's family say they had queried her £77-a-week pension before

Rosemary Chattell's family say they had queried her £77-a-week pension before

Rosemary Chattell’s family say they had queried her £77-a-week pension before

A 96-year-old widow has received more than £117,000 after it emerged she was not paid enough state pension for 20 years.

Rosemary Chattell’s family say they had queried her £77-a-week pension before, only to be repeatedly told by DWP officials that she was getting the correct amount.

Rosemary lives in a care home in Cheshire and suffers from dementia. Her son John, 66, who has power of attorney for her, queried his mother’s pension, but says he was fobbed off three times by the DWP. 

John, a retired sales manager, says it was only on the fourth call that someone agreed to investigate for him. 

They later called back to say his mother was owed £107,852.58. 

After sending two letters to the DWP requesting interest on top, he turned to This is Money for help. Following its intervention, the DWP also later added interest of £9,447.20.

Rosemary’s pension should have been increased automatically after her husband Roy died at the age of 76. 

John says: ‘It’s an injustice. How many other people are there like us? There’s got to be thousands. Without making a call, you never find out.’

A DWP spokesman says: ‘We are very sorry that Mrs Chattell’s state pension review was not processed correctly. We have amended this, paid the arrears owed with interest and apologise unreservedly.’

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These include married women whose husband turned 65 before March 17 2008 and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 per cent rate, widows whose pension was not increased when their husband died, and widows whose pension is now correct but who think they may have been underpaid while their late husband was still alive, particularly if he reached the age of 65 after March 17, 2008.

Also included are over-80s who are receiving a basic pension of less than £80.45, widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman has now died but was underpaid state pension during her lifetime and divorced women, particularly those who divorced after retirement, to check that they are benefiting from the contributions of their ex-husband.

Sir Steve added that he is aware of ‘pre-March 2008′ women who had not made a claim at the time their husband retired only receiving 12 months’ worth of backdated payments when they did eventually make a claim, despite missing out on state pension uplifts for at least 12 years.

He said some of these women are in the process of approaching the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and he has written in support.

A spokesman for the DWP said: ‘We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid state pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.

‘We are checking for further cases, and if any are found awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid.’

The DWP said it would encourage anyone who thinks they have failed to claim a state pension increase they are eligible for to contact the department.

Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, said: ‘The benefits system is extremely complicated and here is another instance where people are falling through the cracks and not getting what they are due.

‘These payments could have an enormous impact on their standard of living and we urge any woman who thinks they might be eligible to check as soon as possible.’

The family of Rosemary Chattell, 96, say they had queried her £77-a-week pension before, only to be repeatedly told by DWP officials that she was getting the correct amount. 

They later called back to say his mother was owed £107,852.58. 

After sending two letters to the DWP requesting interest on top. The DWP also later added interest of £9,447.20.

Anne Psaros, 79, was delighted to be handed £11,600 after realising that the DWP had failed to upgrade her pension to the married woman’s rate when husband retired more than ten years ago.

Lynda Hallaway, 74, had been receiving only £57 a week,  despite her husband John, 73, reaching pension age in 2012. She now gets £80.45 and she has had a back payment of £9,160

Lynda Hallaway, 74, had been receiving only £57 a week,  despite her husband John, 73, reaching pension age in 2012. She now gets £80.45 and she has had a back payment of £9,160

Lynda Hallaway, 74, had been receiving only £57 a week,  despite her husband John, 73, reaching pension age in 2012. She now gets £80.45 and she has had a back payment of £9,160

Her pension has also gone up by £23.52 a week to £80.45.

Anne, of Poole, Dorset, contacted the DWP after husband Anthony, 76, read about the scandal in our report. ‘I am so chuffed that my husband read about it in the Mail. We could not get over our luck.’

Lynda Hallaway, 74, had been receiving only £57 a week — despite her husband John, 73, reaching pension age in 2012 

Are you being underpaid state pension? How to check 

Steve Webb’s firm LCP has launched an online tool to help older married women work out if they are being paid correctly. Find out more here.

But Webb stresses that the website is simply designed as a useful tool, and anyone with any doubt about the amount of pension they are receiving should contact the Department for Work and Pensions. Its details are here.

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The mother-of-two, from New Ellerby, near Hull, has seen her pension hiked to £80.45 and had a back payment of £9,160.

Lynda says: ‘I would encourage anyone who thinks her pension is being underpaid to get it checked.’   

Pension rules mean that once someone turns 80, they should receive 60 per cent of the full basic rate. This is irrespective of marital status and their NI contribution record.

Those turning 80 should automatically receive the ‘Category D’ pension rate of £80.45 a week as long as they have lived in England, Scotland, Wales or a European Economic Area country for ten of the past 20 years.

It means most women over the age of 80 should receive at least the married woman’s rate.

But there could be tens of thousands of women over 80 not receiving that amount. The scandal comes after women born in the 1950s have been made to wait up to six more years for their state pension after the Government raised the qualifying age from 60 to 66.

A DWP spokesman says: ‘In a number of cases individuals have been underpaid state pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.

‘We are checking for further cases. If any are found, awards will be reviewed and any arrears paid.’

To see if you might have missed out, visit lcp.uk.com/is-your-state-pension-being-underpaid/.If you think you’ve been underpaid, call the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 731 0469.

Grandmother lost out on £9k 

Jean Hayes, 75, should have had her pension increased from £60.72 a week to £77.45 when her husband Richard, 77, retired in 2008.

Her family were suspicious she was not getting enough but she says the DWP had reassured them she was getting the correct amount.

Underpaid: Jean Hayes, 75, should have had her pension increased from £60.72 a week to £77.45 when her husband Richard, 77, retired in 2008

Underpaid: Jean Hayes, 75, should have had her pension increased from £60.72 a week to £77.45 when her husband Richard, 77, retired in 2008

Underpaid: Jean Hayes, 75, should have had her pension increased from £60.72 a week to £77.45 when her husband Richard, 77, retired in 2008

Yet mother-of-two Mrs Hayes, who lives near Andover, Hampshire, has now received £8,822.41 after the department eventually admitted it had been paying her a lower rate for 12 years.

The retired retail worker says: ‘I am pleased I have got it back at last, but I am cross because I could have used that money over the years.

‘It would have made a difference. I could have gone on better holidays. Now I might be too old.’  

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RNLI lifesavers rescue three fishermen as they desperately cling to their capsized boat

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rnli lifesavers rescue three fishermen as they desperately cling to their capsized boat

A video of a dramatic lifeboat rescue of three fishermen who were clinging to their capsized vessel has been released by the RNLI.

The men were fishing for lobster near Roker Pier in Sunderland on Saturday when their boat became snagged on floating line from a lobster pot and overturned. 

Although they had life jackets on board, the men were not wearing them when the vessel got into difficulty, leaving them clinging to the hull of their sinking boat.

Three drowning fishermen were pulled to safety when their boat capsized as they were fishing for lobster near Roker Pier in Sunderland on Saturday

Three drowning fishermen were pulled to safety when their boat capsized as they were fishing for lobster near Roker Pier in Sunderland on Saturday

Three drowning fishermen were pulled to safety when their boat capsized as they were fishing for lobster near Roker Pier in Sunderland on Saturday

Several members of the public raised the alarm when they saw the men, who were trying to haul a lobster line back on board, hanging on to their upturned boat.

The Coastguard requested RNLI lifeboats be launched and crews from Tynemouth and Sunderland were called out.

Within 10 minutes, the RNLI volunteers had arrived at the scene where they grabbed the drowning fishermen and pulled them to safety. 

The men were taken back to Sunderland Marina where paramedics checked them over and one man was taken to hospital.

A RNLI spokesperson said they have released the footage of the dramatic rescue to warn the public of the dangers of not wearing a life jacket.   

The dramatic lifeboat rescue was captured on video by RNLI volunteers who responded to the alert within minutes

The dramatic lifeboat rescue was captured on video by RNLI volunteers who responded to the alert within minutes

The dramatic lifeboat rescue was captured on video by RNLI volunteers who responded to the alert within minutes

RNLI volunteer helmsman Paul Nicholson said: ‘We understand the boat capsized after becoming snagged on floating line from a lobster pot.

‘Thankfully, our volunteers were able to respond extremely quickly to this incident and prevent a tragic accident which could have very easily ended up with three lives being lost.

‘Hopefully, the dramatic photographs and video of this incident will act as a reminder to those who go out to sea about why it is important to wear your life jacket and not leave it in a locker on the boat.’

RNLI said they have released the footage of the dramatic rescue to warn the public of the dangers of not wearing a life jacket. Pictured: The men are pulled to safety by volunteers after they were left clinging to the hull of their sinking boat

RNLI said they have released the footage of the dramatic rescue to warn the public of the dangers of not wearing a life jacket. Pictured: The men are pulled to safety by volunteers after they were left clinging to the hull of their sinking boat

RNLI said they have released the footage of the dramatic rescue to warn the public of the dangers of not wearing a life jacket. Pictured: The men are pulled to safety by volunteers after they were left clinging to the hull of their sinking boat

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Migrants arrivals could break record again as ‘more than 400’ arrive in UK

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migrants arrivals could break record again as more than 400 arrive in uk

Britain’s migrant arrival record could be broken again today as ‘more than 400’ land in the UK as they rush to cross the Channel before weather changes.  

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the crossing following a quiet few days due to high winds in the Channel.

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route.     

Authorities were forced to make use of lifeboats at 8am to collect those making the illegal crossing as Border Force vessels were already full to capacity.

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing life jackets as they arrived on British shores. 

Small children (pictured today) were among hundreds of migrants rescued by packed Border Force vessels today as they attempted to cross the Channel to the UK

Small children (pictured today) were among hundreds of migrants rescued by packed Border Force vessels today as they attempted to cross the Channel to the UK

Small children (pictured today) were among hundreds of migrants rescued by packed Border Force vessels today as they attempted to cross the Channel to the UK

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the treacherous crossing following days of high winds in the Channel. Pictured: Arrivals today

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the treacherous crossing following days of high winds in the Channel. Pictured: Arrivals today

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the treacherous crossing following days of high winds in the Channel. Pictured: Arrivals today

Young children were among those rescued by authorities on what an insider described as a ‘very, very busy morning’ for Border Force. 

Migrants are thought to have taken advantage of favourable conditions in the Channel, with wind speeds as low as 6mph early this morning. 

Today has been described as ‘the last day of opportunity’ before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings.

There were no crossings over the weekend or on Monday as French authorities warned of strong northerly winds and strong currents. 

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route

One of a group of people, thought to be migrants, makes a victory gesture on the deck of HMC Seeker, at Dover marina in Kent today

One of a group of people, thought to be migrants, makes a victory gesture on the deck of HMC Seeker, at Dover marina in Kent today

One of a group of people, thought to be migrants, makes a victory gesture on the deck of HMC Seeker, at Dover marina in Kent today

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets as they arrived on British shores

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets as they arrived on British shores

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets as they arrived on British shores

But dozens of people were today spotted having to queue up and wait to be allowed ashore due to the volume of new arrivals.

Arrivals wearing face masks were also seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker.

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today.

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle.

A police boat has also been operating in the Channel along with the coastguard helicopter and the RNLI.

Arrivals wearing face masks were seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker

Arrivals wearing face masks were seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker

Arrivals wearing face masks were seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows.

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go.

The current single-day record for migrant crossings is 416, set on September 2.

On Monday evening the first of up to 400 people were seen arriving at a military barracks that is being used to house Channel migrants.

Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, has been selected by the Home Office to house migrants while their asylum claims are processed.

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows. Pictured: Arrivals today

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows. Pictured: Arrivals today

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows. Pictured: Arrivals today

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go. Pictured: Migrants on a Border Force rib at Dover marina in Kent today

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go. Pictured: Migrants on a Border Force rib at Dover marina in Kent today

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go. Pictured: Migrants on a Border Force rib at Dover marina in Kent today

Today has been described as 'the last day of opportunity' before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings

Today has been described as 'the last day of opportunity' before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings

Today has been described as ‘the last day of opportunity’ before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings

Staff in Folkestone were seen yesterday walking around the disused military base surveying the large open facility and its multiple accommodation buildings.

A member of staff wearing a Hi Vis jacket was seen pointing out where a shower block is going to be installed in the outside space between the housing blocks.

In the evening, around 30 people were rushed inside after arriving at the barracks in two black Mercedes and one grey Volkswagen.

People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks

People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks

People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks

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Charlie Hebdo magazine’s HR chief had ‘ten minutes’ to leave home after receiving death threats

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charlie hebdo magazines hr chief had ten minutes to leave home after receiving death threats

Charlie Hebdo’s head of human resources was given ‘ten minutes’ to leave her home forever after police received credible death threats during the terror trial.

Marika Bret has been living under police protection for nearly five years in the aftermath of the terrorists assault on the satirical magazine’s headquarters in January 2015.

But she was escorted out of her home by police last week after receiving threats that were ‘sufficiently concrete to be taken seriously’. 

Bret said that she would not be returning. 

Marika Bret (pictured) has been living under police protection for nearly five years in the aftermath of the deadly assault on the satirical magazine's headquarters in January 2015

Marika Bret (pictured) has been living under police protection for nearly five years in the aftermath of the deadly assault on the satirical magazine's headquarters in January 2015

Marika Bret (pictured) has been living under police protection for nearly five years in the aftermath of the deadly assault on the satirical magazine’s headquarters in January 2015

‘I had ten minutes to gather my things and leave my home. Ten minutes to leave behind a part of my life, that’s a bit short, that’s very brutal,’ she told weekly news magazine Le Point published on Monday.

The threats coincide with the trial of 14 suspected accomplices of the perpetrators of the massacres at Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket that left a total of 17 dead.

Twelve people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the offices of the magazine, whose no-taboo style, including publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, had divided the country.

Brett, the head of human resources, (pictured wearing a face mask to walk into the courthouse in Paris for the trial earlier this month) was given 'ten minutes' to leave her home forever after police received credible death threats during the terror trial

Brett, the head of human resources, (pictured wearing a face mask to walk into the courthouse in Paris for the trial earlier this month) was given 'ten minutes' to leave her home forever after police received credible death threats during the terror trial

Brett, the head of human resources, (pictured wearing a face mask to walk into the courthouse in Paris for the trial earlier this month) was given ‘ten minutes’ to leave her home forever after police received credible death threats during the terror trial

Twelve people were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the offices of the magazine (above)

Twelve people were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the offices of the magazine (above)

Twelve people were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the offices of the magazine (above)

There is ‘a crazy amount of hatred surrounding Charlie Hebdo’, Bret told Le Point, saying the forced departure from her home ‘translates the unprecedented level of tension that we are having to deal with’.

Since the start of the trial, which prompted Charlie Hebdo to republish controversial cartoons, ‘we have received all kinds of horrible messages, notably threats from Al-Qaeda, and calls to finish the job started by the Kouachi brothers,’ Bret said.

Al-Qaeda earlier this month threatened Charlie Hebdo with a repeat of the massacre of its staff.

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