The Government has failed to notify 107,000 over-80s who receive no state pension that they are eligible for an £82 per week income.
Some £400m has gone unclaimed every year by retirees who are living on no state pension, according to research from LCP, a consultancy. More than 65,000 women and 42,000 men over the age of 80 are owed payments.
From the age of 80, everyone is entitled to a £82.45 weekly state pension regardless of their National Insurance contributions. However, pensioners have to claim it via onerous form filling, Sir Steve Webb, former pensions minister, said.
Sir Steve, now partner at LCP, urged the Government to automate the system. He said the DWP should immediately identify those on zero pensions and ensure they get their entitled payments.
He said: "Most payments of this kind are made automatically but the over 80s have to jump through hoops. The fact that so many people have not claimed showed that filling in forms is a barrier.
"It is hard to understand why all these people are still on zero pensions. We should review whether the current system is fair."
Baroness Ros Altmann, also a former pensions minister, questioned why the Government would not locate those who should be receiving the state pension. She added: “It is worrying to hear that those over 80 may still not be receiving the full amount they are entitled to.”
The Government has faced criticism over state pension payments in recent months after it admitted to underpaying 200,000 women. Large numbers of elderly, widowed and divorced women have been forced to get by on a reduced stipend due to a £2.9bn Government oversight.
More than 74,000 married women will receive a windfall of up to £23,000 while widowed retirees are owed an average of £17,000.
British residents receive the “over 80” state pension if they were either not eligible at the state pension age, or if they were paid less than £82.45 per week. The only condition is they must have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 10 years out of the previous 20. Pensioners can check whether they qualify by filling out a claim form from Jobcentre Plus or online.
More than 250,000 people over the age of 70 receive no state benefits, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Work and Pensions.
A spokesman for the DWP 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."