100-year-old woman misses out on £75,000 of 'little-known' pension allowance

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Margaret Bradshaw initially wasn't entitled to a state pension when she returned to the UK in 1990. (SWNS)
Margaret Bradshaw initially wasn't entitled to a state pension when she returned to the UK in 1990. (SWNS)

A 100-year-old woman has missed out on nearly £75,000 because of a “little known” pension allowance.

British-born Margaret Bradshaw lived and worked outside of the UK for nearly all her adult life so initially wasn't entitled to a state pension when she returned in 1990.

But the great-grandmother had no idea she qualified in 2001 after her 80th birthday.

Bradshaw would have been entitled to what MoneySavingExpert called a “little-known” pension allowance, where anyone over the age of 80 becomes entitled to £82.45 a week.

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Her daughter Helen Cunningham, 78, investigated if her mother was getting the money she was entitled to after reading reports about over-80s not claiming the payments.

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She discovered her mother, a widow who has dementia and lives in a care home, had been entitled to £82.45 a week.

After seeking help from Sir Steve Webb, the former pensions minister, Bradshaw finally started to receive payments two weeks ago.

The former nanny and hotel worker has now received backdated payments of around £4,000, but Cunningham says she is still owed £75,000.

The DWP has confirmed to Yahoo News UK that it only repays the most recent 12 months of any missed pension allowance, which means Bradshaw is set to miss out on the vast majority of the money she didn't realise she was entitled to.

Margaret Bradshaw has begun claiming her pension aged 100. (SWNS)
Margaret Bradshaw, pictured with her daughter Helen Cunningham, has begun claiming her pension aged 100. (SWNS)

Bradshaw was among the more than 107,000 over-80s who were owed these payments but had not claimed them, bringing the total to £400m going unclaimed by pensioners each year, according to research from consultancy LCP.

This Category D pension is a non-contributory payment, meaning pensioners do not need to have paid any national insurance in the past to be eligible.

The government normally automatically rolls many people onto the Category D payment if they're already receiving a state pension prior to the age of 80.

However, over-80s who previously received no state pension have to claim the Category D payment themselves.

Webb said the government does not notify these pensioners that they are eligible to claim the payments meaning they are likely unaware they are owed state pension money.

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Cunningham, who lives in Egham, Surrey, said: "I had never even heard of an over-80 pension until a few weeks ago – we were never made aware of it when Mother turned 80.

"I had been getting quite nervous about Mother's financial situation for some time as care homes are very expensive, so I felt some relief learning she was entitled to more – even if she missed out for 20 years.

"But there might be hundreds of other people out there who don't realise what they're entitled to."

Bradshaw was not entitled to a state pension from age 60 as she had worked abroad and hadn't made any national insurance contributions in the UK.

But she was unaware she was entitled after her 80th birthday and so she never claimed it.

Cunningham said: "I expected if something like that was available, we would have been notified, but it was never suggested."

Bradshaw, who is now living in a home in Addlestone, Surrey, had been living off a small pension from her work in Canada.

Margaret Bradshaw on her 80th birthday with daughter Helen Cunningham. (SWNS)
Margaret Bradshaw on her 80th birthday with daughter Helen Cunningham. (SWNS)

As of 30 June, Bradshaw started receiving £82.45 per week.

Cunningham said: "I'm glad Mother has it now, but it shouldn't have taken her getting to 100 to find out about it.

"£75,000 is a lot to have missed out on and I'm sure we aren't the only ones that didn't know.

"I have no idea why it has been kept so quiet but I encourage people to look into it and find out what they might be entitled to.

"I'm so grateful to Steve Webb for helping us."

A DWP spokesperson said: “We want everyone to claim the benefits to which they may be entitled and we urge anyone of state pension age – or their family and friends – to check if they are missing out on financial support.

“Anyone that thinks they may be eligible to receive a state pension can find out how to apply via gov.uk.”

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