Pensioner claims back £18,000 thanks to alert from Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis shares tips for boosting state pension

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The issue mostly applies to women in a specific set of circumstances. The founder of Money Saving Expert returned on his ITV show last night to share the alert, and details on how to claim.

Co-host Angelica Ball displayed an email from a viewer, Joan, who wrote into the show to share her experience.

Joan said: “After watching your show on married women’s state pension, I contacted the tax department and, although it did take about seven months, I received a cheque for £18,000. I was amazed as I never expected this amount.”

Mr Lewis went on to explain the particular circumstances that would make a person eligible to claim the money.

He said: “There are hundreds of thousands of [people], generally women, who are due at least £6,000 pension back.

“Married women and widows may have been underpaid, specifically women who hit state pension age before April 6, 2016.

“So that’s people aged approximately 70 or older. And your basic state pension needed to be 60 percent of your husband’s basic state pension and this is only for married couples.

“Now, you will get an automatic top up and it should be backdated. If your husband was 65 on or after March 17 2008, or you’re a widow whose husband died after April 2008 and you’re getting less than 60 percent of his pension.

“But you still need to claim. There are free tools online and you can call the pension service to do it. If you divorced after getting your state pension, and your pension is less than your ex-husband’s, again you may be eligible.”


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The financial expert said he has found a “whole new category” since he discovered the issue.

He said: “This can be a man as well, if you stay at home and look after the kids or you were a carer and you got the benefit for it, since April 1978 then if you don’t get a full state pension then you may be entitled to a top up on that.

“As you’ve seen with Joan [the woman who received an £18,000 cheque], this is really big money.”

Figures from the National Audit Office suggest that there have been some £1.46billion in underpayments of the state pension, dating back as far as 1985.

The payment errors relate to the older basic state pension, which allowed women to claim a state pension based on the National Insurance record of their husband, ex-husband, or deceased husband.

Most of the payments were made without any issues to those who were eligible but some were owed money.

The DWP is taking steps to identify individuals affected and to reimburse them the full amount.

The average payout so far has been around £8,900 each, with the amount varying depending on how a person was affected.

Six groups of women may find it worthwhile looking into the matter include:

  • Married women whose husbands turned 65 before March 17, 2008, and who have never claimed an uplift to the 60 percent rate
  • Widows who did not have their pension increased when their husband died
  • Widows who now have a correct pension, but think they could have been impacted by underpayment while their husband was still alive
  • Over 80s in receipt of a basic state pension less than £80.45
  • Divorced women, particularly women who divorced after retirement
  • Widowers and heirs of married women, where the woman was underpaid state pension during her lifetime.

The Martin Lewis Money Show Live is available to watch on the ITV Hub. has contacted the DWP asking for comment.

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