State pension nightmare as woman, 100, misses out on £75,000 in decades’ worth of payments

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Margaret Bradshaw, who was born in Britain, 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. However, the 100-year-old did not realise that she started qualifying after her 80th birthday in 2001 – meaning she has missed out on decades of money.

After reading a news article about people not claiming pension, her 78-year-old daughter Helen Cunningham investigated the matter.

She discovered that her mother, who has dementia and lives in a care home, has been entitled to £82.45 a week since her 80th birthday.

Ms Bradshaw then sought help from Sir Steve Webb, the former pensions minister, and started receiving payments two weeks ago.

The former nanny and hotel worker has also received backdated payments to the tune of £4,000, but won’t get back the £75,000 she missed.

Ms Cunningham, who is retired and lives in Egham, Surrey, said: “I read this article about how thousands of people over 80 aren’t claiming the pension, and it made me question if my mother should have been getting it.

“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.”

Since Ms Bradshaw’s birth in 1921, she has done an array of things – including becoming a grandmother nine times over and spending almost 30 years living in Canada.

At the age of 60, she was not entitled to a state pension given that she had been working abroad and had not made any national insurance contributions in the UK.

Ms Cunningham, her daughter, added: “I expected if something like that was available, we would have been notified, but it was never suggested.”

Now living in a care home in Surrey, Ms Bradshaw had been living off a small pension from her work in Canada.

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Sir Steve Webb advised the pensioner’s daughter that the over 80s pension does not require national insurance contributions.

To be eligible, people must get either a basic state pension of less than £82.45 a week, or none at all.

Ms 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.”

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