The State Pension amount that could mean you’re being underpaid

A former pensions minister has urged people to check how much of the State Pension they are receiving in case they are being underpaid.

Steve Webb says now is a good time to check how much you're receiving, after the Department for Work and Pensions finished checking for errors for married women and the over-80s.

The "magic number" people need to beware of is £93.60, Mr Webb says.

Anyone receiving less than this may be being underpaid and should contact the Pension Service to check.

NimbleFins previously reported hundreds of thousands of people had been underpaid their State Pension, to the tune of an estimated £1.5 billion.

Those errors date back to 1985 and relate to the old State Pension (which was in effect until April 2016) where women could claim based on the National Insurance record of a husband or ex-spouse.

In November 2023 the DWP said it had corrected underpayments for 37,000 married women, with an average of nearly £6,000 being repaid. Another nearly 27,000 over 80s had been found to have pensions payments missing, at an average of £2,245 per person.

Nearly 18,000 windowed pensioners were found to have been affected with an average of £12,383 being repaid, with investigations and repayments for this group ongoing.

But corrections for married women and the over-80s were said to be complete so these groups need to check their payments and contact DWP proactively.

Writing for This Is Money, Mr Webb, who is now a partner at pensions consultancy LCP, said: "Anyone still on a low pension needs to take action - and the ‘magic minimum number’ is £93.60 per week.

"The vast majority of pensioners should be getting at least this amount.

"Certainly any woman who thinks she is being underpaid and has been told by DWP ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’, now needs to be proactive."

Those who should be receiving at least £93.60 on the old State Pension

The old State Pension is for people who were retirement age before April 6 2016. This is when the new State Pension came in and has slightly different rules.

Over-80s: Anyone who passes the 'residence rules' and is over 80-years-old is entitled to at least £93.60 a week regardless of how many National Insurance contributions they've made, or their marital status.

Married women with a husband over State Pension age: A woman is automatically enrolled into a 'married woman's pension' of £93.60 a week if their husband has a full basic State Pension under the old pension rules.

If the husband has gaps in their National Insurance contributions the wife's pension is also reduced.

The married woman's pension also applies to ex-wives and widows.

Those who should be receiving at least £93 on the new State Pension

The new State Pension came into effect from April 6 2016 and the full rate for the 2023/24 tax year is £203.85 a week.

To receive the full State Pension a UK resident needs to have made National Insurance contributions for 35 years.

Anyone with 16 or more years of National Insurance contributions should be receiving at least £93.18 a week - as that is 16/35 of the full rate.

If you think you are owed more it could be because NI contributions are missing, such as if you took a career break to care for children.

You can top up your NI contributions to meet the shortfall and then be entitled to a higher State Pension.

A voluntary contribution costs about £800, NimbleFins previously reported.

We previously explained how someone with 10 years of missing payments could increase their State Pension income by £55,000 over their retirement - for the cost of £8,000 in voluntary contributions.

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.