Tag Archives: pension

State pension: DWP issues vital update on when underpaid women will be reimbursed

State Pension underpayments were uncovered as an error at the DWP which meant many women did not get the sum they were entitled to. The issue arose for those in receipt of the old state pension, due to rules about how much a woman could receive. Married women who had a limited pension sum in their own right were permitted to claim a 60 percent basic state pension sum based on the National Insurance record of their husband.

“Letters go unanswered and messages say ‘Don’t contact us, we’ll contact you’. How long will it take to achieve repayment?”

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, a Conservative Life peer, was quick to respond to the matter, offering further insight into its progress.

She said: “My Lords, the DWP is working extremely hard on making sure that these underpayments are repaid.

“It is putting in a new team of 360 people to work through it, and we hope that all those underpayments will be paid by the end of 2024.

“We are fully committed to addressing the historical state pension errors and ensuring that the individuals affected receive the state pension they are rightfully due in law.”

Under current rules, once back payments are identified, the matter can be rectified.

However, individuals will only be able to receive backdated payments for the boosted state pension sum for 12 months.

This means many have missed the opportunity to receive years of potential increases.

The DWP is actively reaching out to individuals who may have been affected by the state pension error.

However, some experts such as Sir Steve Webb, former pensions minister and Lane, Clark, Peacock (LCP) partner, have urged women to take action themselves.

If someone feels they have been affected, then they can contact the DWP to gain further information.

A DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk about the work it was undertaking regarding the underpayments.

They 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.”

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State pension triple lock: DWP has ‘no plans’ to remove freeze on pensions for UK expats

In December, the Group detailed the Governments from Canada and Australia, two countries with among the highest numbers of excluded British retirees, had submitted damning evidence which condemned the policy.

According to evidence examined within the report, both of these governments have confirmed a readiness and willingness to work with the UK Government to end this policy but emphasis was placed on the fact that the issue can be resolved by UK domestic legislation.

It was highlighted both Canada and Australia provide full state pensions to their pensioners who live in the UK, with the UK being the only country in the OECD to pay their pensioners differently based on where they live.

At the time, representatives for the Canadian Government issued the following statement: “Over the years, the Government of Canada has raised, and has sought to address, this issue with the UK, including by proposing the two countries negotiate a comprehensive social security agreement that would provide for the indexation of UK pensions.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

State pension: Rishi Sunak urged to lower age to 60 to ‘free up jobs for young people’

State Pension age will be important to Britons as it is at this point they will be able to unlock their sum. The amount a person can receive is usually based on National Insurance contributions, but can climb up to £179.60 per week. State pension age is currently set at 66, however, a new petition on the official Parliament website has called for a reconsideration of this matter.

The impacts of the pandemic across the board have been wide-ranging, and with support measures set to draw to a close, many fear a jobs crisis.

Redundancies are expected when the furlough scheme ends in September, meaning many more people could be competing for employment.

The petition, then, poses an earlier retirement as a potential solution, to take older Britons out of the jobs market and allow young people to come to the fore.

Currently, at just over 1,000 signatures, the petition will need to garner at least 10,000 before an official Government response is triggered.

The age at which people become entitled to the state pension has often been a topic of controversy.

Previously, state pension age stood at 60 for women and 65 for men.

However, following changes to ensure gender parity, the state pension age was set at 65.

Subsequently, the state pension has been undergoing gradual increases, meaning eligibility age has become further off.

Now at 66, the state pension age is set to rise even further in the future, meaning Britons will have to wait longer to receive their sum.

The increase to state pension age, the Government has explained, is a result of rising life expectancy.

Now, Britons are expected to spend a larger proportion of their lives in retirement than ever before.

With an ageing population, to ensure everyone is able to receive a state pension, the age is being gradually increased.

But with a moving barometer, many Britons may want further clarity on what a state pension age change could mean for them.

The Government’s state pension age calculator, accessible through its official website, may be able to help in this regard.

The online tool can help individuals discover a number of important entitlements, which include:

  • When a person will reach state pension age
  • When a person will qualify for Pension Credit
  • When a person will be eligible for free bus travel

People may also wish to use the state pension forecast tool in order to find out how much money they are due to receive.

A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. 

“Raising State Pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”

Should NHS free prescription age rise to state pension age? How you can share your views

The upper age limit for prescription charges means people aged 60 and older are among a number of other groups who are eligible for free NHS prescriptions. However, a consultation on aligning the upper age for NHS prescription exemptions with state pension age – which is currently 66 – was recently launched.

“Prescription charges are an important source of income for the NHS, and the costs of providing free prescriptions continue to increase with our aging population.

“I encourage anyone with views on our proposals to share them through the consultation response form, available online on GOV.UK.”

Currently, people can get free prescriptions when they turn 60 in England.

This hasn’t changed since 1974 for women, and 1995 for men.

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The state pension age in England is now 66, and it is planned to increase further for men and women to 68 between 2037 and 2039.

There are two options set out for changing the upper age exemptions, and it’s this which people can express their views on in the consultation.

Option A

“Option A is to raise the qualifying age for free prescriptions to the SPA (currently 66) for everyone,” the Government explained.

“This would mean that following changes to the Charges Regulations people aged 65 and under would have to pay for their prescriptions until they reach the age of 66, unless they qualified for another exemption.”

Option B

“Option B is to raise the qualifying age for free prescriptions to the SPA (currently 66) but with a period of protection, which would mean that people in the age range 60 to 65 would continue to receive free prescriptions.

“This would mean that anyone aged 60 and over when the changes to the Charges Regulations are implemented would continue to be exempt from prescription charges, whereas those aged 59 and under when the changes to the Charges Regulations are implemented would have to pay for their prescriptions until they reach the SPA (currently 66), unless they qualified for another exemption.”

The consultation is open for nine weeks, and Britons have until 11.45pm on Thursday September 2, 2021 to submit their responses.

So, how can a person respond to the consultation?

The Government says the preferred method to receive responses is via the online consultation questionnaire on the Department of Health and Social Care’s website.

However, people who have any queries on the consultation, or who require an alternative format, are directed to email [email protected]

Thos without internet or email access can write to:

Prescribing Policy and Charges Team

Department of Health and Social Care

Floor 2, Area G, Quarry House

Quarry Hill

Leeds LS2 7UE

“If you wish to do so, you can request that your name and organisation be kept confidential and excluded from the published summary of responses,” GOV.UK explained.

State pension UK: Your NI years may not be qualifying – check on your contributions now

State pension income is dependent on NI records, with at least 10 years of qualifying contributions needed to receive any amount in retirement. To receive the full amount of £179.60 per week, at least 35 years will be required.

Under some circumstances, people may not build up any NI through either of these working realities.

However, it may still be possible to increase state pension payouts by making voluntary NI contributions.

People can check on their NI record through the Government’s website and where gaps exist, it may be possible to make voluntary contributions to close the gap.

The Future Pension Centre should be contacted before any action is taken however, as voluntary contributions do not always boost a state pension.

When a person is ready to claim their state pension, the quickest way of doing so is through the Government’s website.

State pensions can also be claimed over the phone or through the post.

Claims can be made up to four months before reaching state pension age and if this is done, initial payments will arrive within five weeks of said retirement age.

Going forward beyond this, payments will arrive once every four weeks.

State pension is changing next year due to Brexit – how Britons may be impacted

The change to rules from January 2022, however, does not affect certain individuals.

The Government states those living in the UK, regardless of nationality will not be impacted.

This is the same for those who are a UK national, EU or EEA citizen or Swiss national, and who were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by December 31, 2021.

As long as someone continues to live in the same country, they will still be able to count time living in Australia before March 2001, Canada or New Zealand in order to calculate a UK state pension.

State pension set to rise by 8% – how to check what you are due to receive from DWP

State Pension payments undergo increase every year under the triple lock mechanism, based on the highest of three components: wages, inflation or 2.5 percent. However, with wages data warped this year due to more people getting back into employment after the pandemic, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has projected a potential eight percent rise to the state pension sum. Some have speculated whether this kind of increase will actually occur, however, others have welcomed the idea of a more significant rise.

Therefore, those who have between 10 and 35 qualifying years can expect to receive a proportion of the state pension.

But many Britons will be keen to understand their own specific state pension entitlement.

This is likely to help them plan for the future, and grasp their financial situation more firmly.

Thankfully, there is a service which allows individuals to do so, and in a variety of ways.

The state pension forecast tool is primarily available online, through the Government’s official website.

The service can help Britons find out how much state pension they could get, when, and how to potentially increase it.

However, it cannot be used by those who are already getting their state pension or if someone has delayed claiming it.

These individuals will need to contact the Pension Service if they are in the UK, or the International Pension Centre if they live abroad.

But for individuals who are able to plan ahead, the online tool is not the only way to do so.

If a person reaches state pension age in more than 30 days, they can also fill in what is known as a BR19 application form and send this by post.

Alternatively, Britons can call the Future Pension Centre for more details, who will then post the forecast out to the individual concerned. 

The state pension triple lock bumper increase could have a significant impact on what people are set to receive.

But the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has seemingly alluded to the fact the increase may not be as significant as figures currently project.

He stated the Government would approach the matter with “fairness to both pensioners and taxpayers” which led some to doubt the triple lock’s future.

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said: “The Chancellor has some extremely difficult decisions ahead as he seeks to get the UK’s long term finances back on a sounder footing after unprecedented spending to support jobs and business during the pandemic.

“We strongly welcome his indications that he will approach decisions ‘with fairness in mind for pensioners and taxpayers’.

“Every generation has been affected by COVID-19, whether in terms of health and/or wealth, so future policy needs across all Government departments needs to be looked at through an intergenerational fairness lens. 

“The ‘levelling up’ agenda shouldn’t just be about geography – it should also look at other factors such as age.”

Author: Rebekah Evans
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Finance Feed

State pension: Britons may get up to £358 per month for joint pain or other conditions

State Pension payments help those of state pension age with their income in later life, and the sum is particularly important to older people. The full state pension sum currently stands at £179.60, but the amount people actually receive will vary based on their National Insurance contributions. Regardless of what a person receives, however, many of state pension age could find themselves entitled to an extra payment to help with health conditions and disabilities.

It could impact one joint or many, which may have a knock on effect on the ability to get out and about or perform tasks within the home.

Some will even need medication in order to be able to manage the pain in attempts to make the situation better.

In this sense, Attendance Allowance could be an appropriate form of assistance for older people.

While a payment will depend on the severity of a person’s condition, it could be an important lifeline for those living with pain.

The matter of severity, and how much care a person needs, is important as it can help in the assessment of what kind of support someone needs.

Attendance Allowance is paid weekly and is split into two different rates.

The payment is not means-tested, and what a person earns or how much they have in savings will not impact what they receive.

The “lower rate” of the payment is £60, and is described as being for those who need “frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night”.

The “higher rate”, however, is for those who may require further assistance and is set at £89.60.

As a result, the maximum a person could receive within a month is £358.

This rate is reserved for individuals who will need help or supervision throughout both day and night, and those who are terminally ill.

However, there are also other potential benefits which come with a claim for Attendance Allowance.

Certain individuals may be able to receive additional Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if they claim.

People who are interested in finding out more about this and their circumstances are encouraged to check with the helpline or office dealing with their benefit. 

Many people, armed with information about Attendance Allowance, may wish to put in a claim for the sum.

This can be done by using the Attendance Allowance claim form, accessible through the Government’s website, which must be sent in the post.

Author: Rebekah Evans
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Expats in Spain, France and more benefit from ‘amazing’ state pension Brexit deal

However, when it comes to the pension rights of Britons living in the likes of Spain, Portugal and France, one tax expert has revealed the nations came together in a rather “sensible agreement”.

According to Oliver Heslop from Global Expatriate Tax Services, as a result, there is some “amazing” news for Britons who are looking to claim their state pension while living in an EU state.

“There was a big rush before Christmas for people to get out there and people were doing that,” he explained while speaking on the Expat Focus podcast.

“Brits were moving to Spain and France and other places to guarantee rights as EU citizens because we all believe that post-January it wouldn’t be the same, there wouldn’t be protections for all sorts of immigration and pension problems that drove the rush.

READ MORE: Holidays: EU countries welcoming back double-jabbed Britons

Author: Aimee Robinson
Read more here >>> Daily Express

State pension set to rise by 8% but thousands of pensioners will miss out on boost

State Pension payments offer important financial support to individuals who have reached state pension age. Many people will have built up substantial National Insurance contributions throughout their lifetime in order to get the biggest state pension possible. To provide support, the Government’s triple lock mechanism boosts the state pension sum each year by the highest of average wages, inflation or 2.5 percent.

But as more people get back into employment after a challenging year and a half, it is believed wages data could be warped.

As a result, the state pension could increase by the rise in wages – which is currently predicted to be eight percent.

This has led to questions about whether the Government will be able to maintain the triple lock policy in the future.

However, regardless of a state pension triple lock rise, there will be some who are set to miss out on the boost.

READ MORE: SEISS: HMRC issues vital update on self-employment grant 5

Despite the state pension being set to increase by eight percent, then, these individuals will not benefit from the rise.

The campaign group End Frozen Pensions has suggested nearly 500,000 people are impacted by this approach.

The only way a person will be able to increase their state pension sum is by returning to live in the UK.

Parliament documents state that in May 2020, there were 492,176 people overseas in receipt of a frozen UK state pension.

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “A spike in average earnings would present a real problem to the Treasury as it would dramatically increase the value of the state pension.

“The state pension triple lock wasn’t really designed for a world where average earnings increase by eight percent – which is entirely possible as lockdown restrictions ease and the UK economy hopefully bounces back from the lows of 2020.

“Such a dramatic increase in average earnings would cost the Exchequer around £3billion – hardly loose change, even in the context of a pandemic which has seen borrowing rise by hundreds of billions of pounds.

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been clear that the Government intends to honour the triple lock promise, so it may simply decide to wear this extra cost.

“If it does and average earnings rise by eight percent that will represent a boon for retirees, adding just over £14 per week to the value of the flat-rate state pension.”

Author: Rebekah Evans
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Finance Feed