Is the government underpaying my state pension?

26 February 2013


I turned 65 on Christmas Eve and phoned the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ask when I would receive my state pension. I was told my pension was dated from 29 December to 29 January and would be paid every four weeks. I asked what happens to the payment from 24 December to 29 December, and it said I would not be paid for those days.It's like working a week in hand. I've paid tax and national insurance (NI) for 42 years and have been ripped off by nearly a week's worth of pension. Is there anything I can do?
JO, Northwich


You might consider that the DWP is ripping you off. Previously, most state pensions were paid weekly in advance on Mondays. On 6 April 2010, the rules changed and, since then, new state pensions have usually been paid four weeks in arrears.

Another change is that the date when people become eligible for their state pension and when they receive it now depends on the last two digits of their NI number.

People are allocated a specific pay day, which for those whose NI number ends in 00 to 19 is on Monday, 20-39 on Tuesday, 40-59 on Wednesday, 60-79 on Thursday and 80-99 on Friday.

Your entitlement to the state pension begins from your first allocated pay day after you have reached state pension age, assuming you have put in a claim to receive your pension, and then it is usually another four weeks until you get your first payment.

This means some people can have a gap of up to a week between their state pension age and the date on which they become eligible for the state pension.

Those who move from a working-age state benefit, such as Jobseeker's Allowance, can be paid a part-week's pension for the gap between their state pension age and when they become entitled to the state pension. Unfortunately, other people don't get paid during this period and so are effectively losing out, and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.