Many bereaved adult children have written to This is Money asking how to check whether their late parents lost out on state pension.
If you think your parent’s records might have been destroyed, it is worth giving the DWP as much detail – and especially copies of old pension and bank statements – that you can to show they were underpaid.
We recently asked the DWP what information it needs, and it said: ‘Ideally, we would require a National Insurance number from someone who believes their deceased parents were underpaid state pension.
‘However, if this is not available, their full name, date of birth and address can be used to locate the claim records.’
After This is Money heard from a reader who said DWP staff told them they couldn’t look into a deceased person’s pension without an NI number, the DWP said this was not the case and it was willing to investigate any specific instances where this had occurred.
Try to have as much of the following information to hand as possible if you phone, or include it in any letter.
Name of deceased person
Date of birth and death
Most recent basic state pension – this can be found on the annual statement, but if not give the total weekly or monthly amount
Last known address
Date of birth (and date of death if this applies)
Current basic state pension, or last known before death
Your own address and phone number
It is a good idea to keep a record of the dates you phone up and what was said, or copies of your letters. You could consider sending them by registered post.
Since NI numbers would be useful if not essential to have, you can check your parents’ old state pension statements, and also their bank statements on which these generally appear.
What information should you give the DWP if your parent has died?
If you are the executor of an estate, you can contact the bank into which state pension was paid to ask for information and old statements. Old benefits documents and health records might also include NI numbers.
Steve Webb’s firm LCP has launched an online tool to help older married women work out if they are getting the correct amount, and if you have enough details about your late mother you could use this too.
LCP has a separate web page for widows (and widowers) and again this might be useful for working out whether parents who have died were underpaid.
But Webb stresses that the LCP websites are simply designed as useful tools, and anyone with any doubt about the amount of pension they are receiving should contact the DWP.
You can also write to This is Money at [email protected]. We will help if we can, but we receive huge numbers of messages about this and are not always able to reply. Please put DWP CLAIMS in the subject line.
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