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Possibility of claiming 60% of husband's state pension rights

(66 Posts)
Dinahmo Wed 01-Sep-21 14:35:57

Whilst this isn't strictly news I've included it here because many of you look at this Forum. It concerns those of you who haven't paid the full amount of pension contributions.

Please note that it applies to widows and divorcees too, not just to those who are still married.

Prior to 2016, the state pension system comprised a basic pension plus an optional top-up (SERPS/Second State Pension). From 6 April 2016 that was replaced by a simpler flat rate state pension for new retirees, with a significant reduction in the number of years of national insurance contributions (NICs) needed to fund a 100% entitlement.

However, the previous arrangement – which remained in force for those who had already retired – contained a ticking time bomb.

Under the old system, many married women were unable to build up the lengthy employment history then required to fund a full pension in their own right; many others had paid a reduced “married woman’s” rate of NIC. This led to many women retiring on quite minimal state pensions.

To compensate for their inability to self-fund a full individual pension, these women could claim 60% of their husband’s pension entitlement from the time he reached retirement age. Similar provisions applied to widows and divorcées.
What scandal?

The main problem lay with women who reached state pension age before their husbands and would therefore be receiving the lower rate of pension until the husband’s retirement. By the time the man retired, many couples were unaware that this event could also affect the woman’s pension rights.

Prior to 2008, the wife’s pension uplift had to be specifically claimed. If the husband retired prior to 2008 – the pension entitlement of the wife was not retrospectively checked by the DWP.

From 2008, the DWP undertook to check each time a married man retired, and ensure that the spousal uplifts were automatically granted even in the absence of a claim.

Regrettably, it appears that this did not always take place owing to what the DWP described as “administrative errors”. As a result, as many as 200,000 women whose husbands reached retirement age since 2008 may have been underpaid for two decades. Underpayments totalling as much as £2.7bn have been mentioned. Since the scandal broke, the DWP is now actively reviewing all post-2008 cases.

n June, the Financial Times suggested that a further 50,000 women whose husbands had retired prior to 2008 might also have been affected. Underpayments for these women might total as much as £650m. Such cases are not part of DWP’s automatic review: individuals potentially affected will need to contact the Pension Service to ensure their circumstances are investigated.

Harris27 Fri 03-Sep-21 10:22:22

My mil never worked a day after she married. She lived till 95 and received a good pension which was topped up from fil pension he’d worked till 59 died at that age. So he ne er even saw his pension.

Dinahmo Fri 03-Sep-21 10:32:30

I think that to try to separate women like Doodledog's friend would be wrong. She obviously found fulfillment through being a stay a home mum whereas many others preferred to work. I mentioned in an earlier thread my mum and the problems she had when she wanted to get back to work. It was because she was bored at home once we had all started school.

Most of my friends had high powered jobs and took the minimum maternity leave. They are the ones who had problems when it came to retirement. They are also the ones who contributed for at least 40 years because they continued working after 60. None of them have complained about those who chose not to work.

Not everyone who contributed into the system has benefited in every way. My father died when he was 55 so no state pension for him. My mother died when she was 65 so state pension or widow's benefit for 10 years. Some of you will have parents who live into their nineties and could therefore be receiving the state pension for 30 to 40 years. No one is complaining about that.

I would suggest that we've all benefited in some way or other from the state, whether it's pensions or some other way. I think that some of the comments above illustrate the Tories policies of divide and rule.

PippaZ Fri 03-Sep-21 10:58:38

I don't know how to say this more clearly. You do not get a pension because you work although it may be a contributing factor to proving you were a citizen at the time.

That is why the government had added various other ways to show you were a citizen. There is a list on this page about the circumstances under which you can get credits There are also circumstances under which you can buy them for yourself.

The government does not want you to have gaps in your citizenship. It wants it to be as simple as possible. It just doesn't want to tell you that.

Making judgements about other peoples lives is pointless, unkind and just disparaging gossip. No one knows the ins and outs of another person or family's life, however much we think we do.

If people claim the amounts that they should have had as described in the OP, I am quite sure the government will find a way of taking back any benefits they have received back. No one is taking anyone else's money.

Doodledog Fri 03-Sep-21 11:01:06

I didn't say that I didn't stay at home when I wanted to?.

Again, you are extrapolating your world view from what I am saying, and are attributing your prejudices to me.

My friend could just as easily have been called 'Person A', but that sort of post quickly gets complicated. I am not denigrating my friend, Person A or their choices - I am questioning their right to an automatic pension. As I have said more than once.

I don't think that I am better than her. Not at all. That is a rather strange thing to say - how can one person be 'better than' another? Again, indicative of your world view, but definitely not mine.

Not that it is remotely relevant to this discussion, but I didn't 'have to' work. I could have stayed at home, but chose not to. The difference between my choice and my friend's (or Person A's) is that I didn't expect anyone else to subsidise my choice.

I object to your unfounded and entirely baseless assertion that I think that my friend is 'less of a citizen'. I am not saying that - in fact I am expressly denying it. Saying that someone is not (in my opinion on a discussion thread) entitled to something is not denigrating them, saying they are less of a citizen or shifting them from being a friend to a "friend". My discussing her in an entirely anonymous way on a discussion board is not shocking - it is not as though I'm standing at the garden fence hitching my bosom as I gossip about her to the neighbours. FWIW, we have discussed this sort of thing between us more than once. She is fully aware that she has played the system (her words) and says that this is why they pay their accountant. She is within the law and some people, like you, can argue that she is within her moral rights too. I don't agree, but so what?

This is a discussion about what boils down to politics (as are most discussions in the end). I am not prepared to continue if you persist in making it personal and telling me that I think things that I have persistently said I do not.

Doodledog Fri 03-Sep-21 11:02:19

Sorry - the thread moved on when I was typing. That was to Pippa in response to the post where she accused my of denigrating my friend and saying she is less of a citizen than I am.

PippaZ Fri 03-Sep-21 11:42:22

I cannot tell you how little interest I have in your life when it comes to this subject Doodledog. You are the one who made it personal. As far as I was concerned this was about pensions, not about who worked and who didn't. I was just trying to sympathise as you seemed put out.

I repeat.

You do not get awarded a pension on the basis that you worked.

You get it because you have been a citizen for the required number of years. NI is how citizenship is recorded. It could be another way but it isn't.

You have not paid for your pension. You have merely paid another general tax.

The government want paying out the pension to be as cheap to run as possible.

They want to ensure everyone pensioner has enough to live on.

This is why they began to add benefits into the basic pension so everyone gets them.

Their aim is to pay everyone the same amount in pension. This is what a pension based on citizenship does.

This is not a pension you have paid an amount into, varying from person to person, and paying out based on what is paid in. That seems to be how you see it but again, who knows.

NI is two things. A record of citizenship and a tax.

This is what has happened and is in place, not a view of what should happen may/may not be different. It is not political. It is fact.

Doodledog Fri 03-Sep-21 11:45:57

I cannot tell you how little interest I have in your life when it comes to this subject Doodledog. You are the one who made it personal. As far as I was concerned this was about pensions, not about who worked and who didn't. I was just trying to sympathise as you seemed put out.

I'm out.

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 03-Sep-21 11:57:06

PZ I’m sure none of us needs a lecture about NI and how the pot is made up and distributed, nor to be told that our state pensions are not (by and large) dependent on how much we have paid into the system. But I have already asked you - if everyone who had a choice of working or staying at home decided on the latter, which must make for a somewhat less stressful lifestyle, where would the money for pensions and other benefits and health care come from? I will answer that for you as you seem unwilling to do so - those who undertook the much derided paid work, and their employers, would be required to pay more into the pot. I really cannot understand your unwillingness to acknowledge that some of us resent what we have paid benefitting those who could have made payments themselves but made a deliberate choice not to. I don’t ask you to share that view but I believe anyone who has worked hard both inside and outside the home for the majority of their life will understand it.

Dinahmo Fri 03-Sep-21 12:46:41


Many people play the system - do you resent the following:

Each and everyone of us who asks a tradesperson whether we can pay them in cash (thereby avoiding VAT)

Those tradespersons who don't declare all their cash income (thereby avoiding paying income tax)

Those who are or were self employed who claim for a wide range of expenses, some of which may not have been "wholly and necessarily" for their work. Since you were a lawyer I'd point you in the direction of Ann Mallalieu v HMRC (you may be too young to remember it)

Finally, those who avoid paying income tax by using off shore companies

Dinahmo Fri 03-Sep-21 12:47:51

I should have typed "wholly, necessarily and exclusively"

PippaZ Fri 03-Sep-21 12:52:47

So all the people who are not "earning" are in family units that are too poor to pay tax, or even a great deal of tax and/or work the system.

halfpint1 Fri 03-Sep-21 13:42:52

Well I thought N.I. contributions were counted in respect to how much Pension you were paid,
Bet I'm not the only one to think that.
Reminds me how I thought I would get a pension at 60,there again I live
In France so my own fault

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 03-Sep-21 13:49:01

Dinahmo, yes I do object to anyone asking if they can pay a tradesperson in cash in order to escape VAT, who thereby encourage and collude in tax evasion, and those tradespeople (and others) who evade tax. Why do you ask? Why would I not object? Something I have been offered but never done. Tax avoidance, however, sometimes via offshore companies, is not illegal but it’s not something I approve of or have ever indulged in.

I remember Anne Mallalieu very well and her attempt to claim the purchase of black clothing as an expense related solely to her work. I believe that was a genuine test case though (and before you say it, no we don’t all stick together). If you knew her you’d know she didn’t wear barrister’s black clothing socially. Like her I was self employed for many years but you won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t bend the rules. In my experience HMRC look at such claims very closely.

Pippa, my comments have been solely about individuals, not family units. Individuals, not family units, are taxable.

I shall now follow Doodledog’s example and leave this thread, which has become unpleasant and pointless.

PippaZ Fri 03-Sep-21 14:47:44

It became that long ago. As do all threads where people decide to be judgemental and set themselves on a pedestal Germanshepherdsmum.

Fennel Fri 03-Sep-21 18:23:09

I'm just realising that I've completely misunderstood the point of the OP. I thought she meant that when one spouse dies the other can claim his/her pension.