New DWP website for next of kin of underpaid state pensioners welcome but ‘long overdue’ – Steve Webb

by | Jul 11, 2022

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Photo of Steve Webb.

After pressure from campaigners and calls by the Select Committee to do more, DWP has finally produced a website to be used by the next of kin of those who believe that a deceased family member was underpaid state pension. 

The move has been welcomed, but described as ‘long overdue’ by LCP partner Steve Webb who first identified the underpayments.

When details of the problem of state pension underpayments was first published by DWP, it was estimated that around 134,000 people had been underpaid and were owed around £1 billion in arrears.   However, a report by the Public Accounts Committee published in January 2022 said that around 40,000 of these people are deceased[1].   More recent estimates by DWP suggest that the overall scale of the problem is much bigger than previously thought, and this implies that the 40,000 estimate for the number of the deceased who lost out is likely to be too low.

DWP has said that where it finds errors for those who have died it will pay out to next of kin or executors where it is able to trace them.  However, DWP will not always have contact details, and it expects that it will be unable to locate the families of thousands of those who have lost out.

In response to criticism about the lack of information or guidance for families, DWP has now produced a website which will enable families to enter details of their loved ones and have a check made to see if money is owed.

The website is at:

Request information about underpaid State Pension for someone who has died – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The website asks families to provide as much information as possible about the person who died, including things like full name, name of any spouse or partner, NI number and date of birth and death.  DWP say that they will then check if the person was underpaid.  The site says: “If the person who has died was owed money, we will write to you and let you know what to do next.”

Commenting, Steve Webb, partner at LCP said: “It is welcome, although long overdue, that DWP has provided a way for families to check if a loved one was underpaid state pension.  I regularly hear from people who say that an elderly relative was convinced their state pension was too low and who want justice for someone who is no longer with us. 

“This website will allow next of kin and executors to provide details in such cases and get them looked into.  I hope that this means that a much higher proportion of underpayments will result in a payout.  This process obviously comes too late to benefit the person who was underpaid but at least their family will receive some compensation for the error”.

 

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