Government admits it has got its state pension sums wrong

Department for Work and Pensions © Getty Images

Approximately 360,000 people have been given incorrect forecasts of their state pension benefits, the government has confirmed.

Some 3% of all online forecasts issued to savers since 2016 are incorrect, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says, often overstating what people are entitled to by £1,000 a year.

The announcement follows warnings from pension specialists that the DWP’s electronic records of many people’s work histories are patchy.

In particular, they may miss out periods when people had opted out of the state earnings-related pension scheme in the 1980s and 1990s, during which time they weren’t building up state pension entitlement at the normal rate.

The DWP now says an investigation into its forecasting shows that up to 3% of the online statements requested by people checking their state pensions have been affected by these omissions.

Its paper-based forecasts, issued to those who write in to formally request a benefits statement rather than using the automated online system, are thought to be much more accurate.

The upshot is that anyone who has received a forecast in the past three years should now double-check their position, particularly if they have opted out of the state system at any time in the past.