Thousands of people are being told they could be due a share of £500m following a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) error.

The DWP owes £500m in back pay to more than 80,000 people across the UK, including married women, widows and pensioners.

Each person who has been affected by the error could be due a back payment of £6,250 on average.

A review by the DWP found that there had been a possible 82,323 underpayments, mostly involving married women who reached state pension age before April 2016.

The Government department plans to give an update on how much of the money has been paid back to those owed by the end of March.

Some groups of people who may be included in those who have received underpayments are:

  • People over 80 who were already getting a pension when they turned 80, who should have had their pension increased.
  • Married women who were supposed to get more pension when their husbands retired.
  • Widows and widowers who should have gotten a better pension after their partner passed away.

Pensions Minister Paul Maynard said: "The Department uses all available resources to identify heirs. In the instance when a response is not received for the initial contact letter, we issue further letters inviting the heir to contact DWP."

State Pension increase next month

Pensioners will see their state pension increase by up to £900 next month, as an announcement made at last year’s autumn statement comes into effect.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the triple lock on pensions would be honoured, with state pensions set to rise from April 1.

Under the triple lock – which guarantees an increase in line with average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is highest - pensions will increase by 8.5 per cent next month.

Opening last year’s autumn statement, Mr Hunt said: "After a global pandemic and energy crisis we have taken difficult decisions to put our economy back on track.

“We have supported families with rising bills, cut borrowing and halved inflation.

“Rather than a recession, the economy has grown. Rather than falling as predicted, real incomes have risen.

“Our plan for the British economy is working. But the work is not done.”

The Chancellor went on to announce plans to honour the triple-lock on pensions in line with an increase in wages.

He told MPs: "The triple lock has helped lift 250,000 older people out of poverty since its inception in 2011.

"It has been a lifeline for many during times of inflation.

"We honour our commitment to the triple lock in full. We will increase the new state pension by 8.5 per cent, worth up to £900 more a year."