Pensioners who were full-time mums could be owed up to £10,000 after Government pension blunder – The Sun

FORMER stay-at-home mums with small state pensions are due payouts of up to £10,000 after a government blunder left them short-changed.

Tens of thousands of women did not get the hike they were due when their husbands turned 65, it has emerged.

Women whose weekly payout is less than £80 and who retired before pensions were revamped in 2016 could have missed out.

Campaigner and former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb says the error was, in some cases, down to a failing in the Government’s computers and he is now urging families to check.

Payments should have risen to 60 per cent of their husband’s basic state pension, which was the amount women with low National Insurance payments got under the old pension system.

That means they would get £80.45 a week, instead of the more typical figure of £67 a week for women with a small state pension.


The old pension system was based on the idea that men were breadwinners and women would depend on them.

It was decided that married women could pay a reduced rate of NI contributions, known as the “married woman’s stamp”.

This meant they were not paying towards their own state pension, but when their husband retired they could get an uplift to 60 per cent of his pension so long as he had a full record of contributions.

Married women who had not paid the stamp but had missed out on making contributions due to staying at home with the kids also qualified for the boost to 60 per cent.

Steve explained: “The old system was all rooted in the 1940s world view of women being financially dependent on their husbands, and the two of them being part of one household with shared finances.

“It was a pretty old-fashioned way of doing things.”

The policy was deemed unfair and was changed in 2016 so women’s pensions were no longer linked to their husbands.

But Steve has discovered those who retired before then have not been getting the increase to 60 per cent — and are due payouts.

How much they will get in compensation depends on when they became eligible for the boost.

If it was between 2008 and 2016, they should get all their losses repaid because the Government should have upped their pensions automatically.

But those whose husbands retired before April 2008 had to apply for the extra cash themselves. Women in this position who missed out can only get a year of back-dated payments. Steve is now demanding the Government urgently investigates the issue and automatically increases pensions.

He also is calling for a review of the rule that women who were eligible before 2008 can only backdate a claim for 12 months.

He said: “It is truly shocking that thousands of women are being short-changed on their state pensions.

Jean £8k payout

JEAN HAYES, a 75-year-old great-gran from Hampshire, got a payout of £8,822 as well as £274 in interest after being short-changed since 2008.

The former retail worker had been getting £60.72 a week instead of £77.45, which was 60 per cent of husband Richard’s basic state pension of £129.20.

She said: “When I logged on to my bank account and saw they’d paid me back the money, at first I thought it was a scam. But then I was thrilled. I’ll use it to get a new bathroom.

“I’d advise other women to check they are getting the right payments, too.”

While the Department for Work and Pensions is willing to put things right on a case-by-case basis when individuals get in touch, there is clearly a systematic problem here.

“It is time for the DWP to take this issue seriously and launch a full investigation into how so many women have been missing out for so long.”

Steve, who uncovered the issue, has launched a new online tool at for women to work out if they have lost out.

Typically, women on pensions less than £80 per week are affected.

If you use the calculator and think you are eligible for a top-up in either scenario, contact the Government’s pension service.

Details of how to do so are on the calculator, or at A DWP spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid their state pension. We corrected our records and reimbursed those affected as soon as errors were identified.

“We are checking for further cases, and if any are found, awards will also be reviewed and any arrears paid.”

Getting it right

MARRIED couples should check their most recent annual state pension statement.

You might be getting underpaid if you are:

  •  A married woman over state pension age who hit that mark before 6 April, 2016, AND . . .
  •  Your husband is over state pension age AND . . .
  •  Your husband has a full basic state pension, currently £134.25 a week, in his own right AND . . .
  •  You are getting a weekly basic state pension of less than £80.45 per week.

Check the line on your statement listing just the basic state pension, not including any additional payments you or your husband might get on top.

If you think your state pension is less than you are owed, contact the Department for Work and Pensions.

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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: They were like David Brent on full volume!

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Banter, silly slogans… they were like David Brent on full volume!

A Very British Hotel Chain


The Architecture The Railways Built


Smash it! Own it! You are a superservice hero! Yes, there is only one thing more inspiring than a meaningless inspirational slogan, and that’s lots of inspirational slogans.

And if you’re still feeling insufficiently inspired, imagine these words emblazoned across a poster of an eagle: ‘Be courageous! Beat yesterday!’

At the headquarters of Best Western, we discovered in the documentary A Very British Hotel Chain (C4), chief exec Rob likes these mantras so much that they are embossed on aluminium door plates, as names for the different meeting rooms.

Well, it’s better than the BBC’s version in sitcom W1A, where all the glass-walled offices are named after dead comedians. Who’d want to hold a debrief inside ‘Benny Hill’, when they could book ‘Smash it’ or ‘Own it’?

In A Very British Hotel Chain, we discovered that at the headquarters of Best Western, chief exec Rob likes inspirational slogans

To Rob and his ‘brand development director’ Mark, any casual exchange was an opportunity for office banter. Staff greeted their bosses with rictus grins and hilarity was mandatory on every desk. To hear Rob and Mark enthuse the underlings was like listening to David Brent on full volume.

What the documentary didn’t manage was to explain what Best Western actually does, and what the benefits are in joining their ‘crazy family’. According to comic Diane Morgan’s voiceover, sounding as well-informed as her gormless character, Philomena Cunk, in Charlie Booker’s Weekly Wipe, the role of Best Western is to ‘push bookings to the hotels and enforce brand standards’.

I’m assuming someone came up with that gobbledegook at the same departmental meeting that coined the phrase ‘beat yesterday’. Still, membership must offer something, because celebrity chef Marco Pierre White seemed keen to sign up his inn, the Rudloe Arms near Bath, to their club.

It’s a three-star hotel, though from the look of the soft-porn photos and sculptures in the bedrooms, perhaps that should be a triple-X rated hotel.

Marco didn’t seem to notice the steamy pictures, because he was too busy admiring the gigantic portraits of himself in his youth that smouldered from every wall.

‘There’s nothing wrong with a bit of narcissism,’ he declared, but his self-adoration was so excessive that he might as well have booked the honeymoon suite and made an honest man of himself.

Bella vista of the night:

The ex-England football stars of Harry’s Heroes (ITV) stayed in a hilltop palazzo or mansion above Florence, with magnificent views of the Renaissance city. Well worth the 120 steep steps they had to climb to their bedrooms.

Mocking Marco is all very well, but there’s a tinge of snobbery to this series, a barely concealed sneer at the retired couples and sales reps for whom bed-and-breakfast in a Best Western hotel is a bit of a treat. The result is a documentary that has an immature snigger at everything, which becomes tiresome quite quickly.

Historian Tim Dunn takes the opposite tack, exuding earnestness over every brick of the buildings on the Settle-to-Carlisle line, in The Architecture The Railways Built (Yesterday).

It’s one thing to be impressed by the soaring arches of the Ribblehead viaduct, but Tim is equally in awe of the looping wooden lintels beneath the eaves of the smallest station.

The art deco ticket office at Surbiton, which resembles a Twenties cinema, was attractive, as was the water tower now converted into a palatial home.

But the programme came alive with a portrait of Victorian financier George Hudson, whose vision for the railways got the better of him. Despite making millions, the Railway King could not resist fleecing his investors. When his frauds were exposed he was declared bankrupt.

More about Hudson and less about renovations would have made for a better episode.

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Engaged women were ‘drunk and speeding at 103mph’ when they crashed car in woods – and bodies were not found for weeks – The Sun

AN engaged couple who disappeared last month were “drunk and speeding” before their car crashed in the woods — and their bodies weren’t found for weeks, according to police.

Stephanie Mayorga, 27, and Paige Escalera, 25, were reported missing on April 18 after they had been missing for three days.

Surveillance video showed the pair leaving their home in North Carolina in 2013 Dodge Dart.

On May 4, authorities found the vehicle “deep in the woods” off a road and “covered in vegetation” with two “significantly” decomposing bodies inside.

The Wilmington Police Department said at a press conference last week that "alcohol and speed were major factors in the wreck."

On the night of April 15, police said someone called 91 about a car “traveling at a high rate of speed, running through a stop sign” at an intersection a little more than six miles from the women’s apartment.

The 911 caller said they looked in his passenger’s side rearview mirror and saw the car hitting a wall and crashing, but said they weren't sure where they were because they weren't from the area.

Emergency responders and the 911 caller searched the area, but didn’t find any evidence of a car crash at the time.

But weeks later, police found the 911 call and went back to search the area.

There, they found “no obvious signs of a wreck. There were no broken limbs, no skid marks, and no debris. The only evidence of the crash was a faint tire imprint near the curb, as well as scuff marks on the curb itself.”

The Dart was found “hidden in an area of thick vegetation, partially submerged in a swamp with only a small section of the roof visible from up above.”

Police said: “Officers had to use a machete to cut a path to the vehicle. In addition, a tow truck was called to remove it, which created the tire tracks, broken limbs, and other obvious disturbances visible in photos taken at the scene after May 4.”

“We can confidently say alcohol and speed were major factors in the wreck,” cops said, before adding the women were traveling between 102 and 103mph before they hit a curb and “went airborne.”

The vehicle collided with a tree 150 feet away from the street, and the crash “happened in the blink of an eye” — as only 0.99 seconds elapsed from the time the car hit the curb to the time of the collision, according to police.

Investigators found “several open, empty beer bottles” inside their vehicle, and cops determined the women bought a 12-pack of beer that night just before 11pm, in the hour before the crash.

“Surveillance photos also show one of the women holding a beer bottle as they exited their apartment around 9pm that night,” police said.

Mayorga was driving the car and Escalera was riding as passenger during the crash.

Police said their cause of deaths have been ruled traumatic head and chest injuries from the crash.

Their disappearance was deemed “suspicious,” as all of their belongings were still at home went they went missing, cops said.

They had ordered food that was found on their doorstep the next morning at their Wilmington home they had only lived in for about a week.

Police were criticized by loved ones of the women, who said authorities weren’t doing enough to find them.

But police insisted “all the normal investigative techniques that we use to find where people have gone and find out their history and what their plans were, aren’t bearing out.”

"This is unusual,” Wilmington Police Captain Thomas Tilmon said, adding: “We have no idea where they went."

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How Old Were the Olsen Twins When They Started Acting?

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been acting since they were just children. With the Olsen twins back in the news, it’s the perfect time to look back at where they got their start. Read on to learn when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen started acting. It might just surprise you.

Girls all over the world grew up watching the Olsen twins

Numerous women today grew up watching Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in the 90s and early 2000s. Who didn’t have at least some of their movies on VHS back in the day? They appeared in movies such as Billboard Dad and Passport to Paris. They were the epitome of style and they always seemed to look their best, even as children on camera. Girls all over the world idolized the duo as they grew up alongside them off-camera while trying to be just like them.

How old were the Olsen twins when they started acting?

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen began their career really early on in life on Full House at just nine months old. They played the lovable Michelle Tanner on the hit sitcom. People watching the two girls portraying the same person saw them grow up right before their very eyes. As tweens, they were already a huge success with their movies, making them household names to millions of girls.

RELATED: When Did Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Become Billionaires?

What’s the last movie Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen filmed together?

According to EntertainmentTonight, the last movie the twins ever did together was called New YorkMinute. It premiered in theaters in 2004. Mary-Kate plays Roxy, the fun-lovingsister that loves nothing more than to play music and skip class. Ashley playsJane, who is close to winning a scholarship to Oxford. She’s studious and veryunlike her rebellious sister. They end up having to spend the day together inNew York City. What could possibly go wrong when they’re being chased by atruant officer?

Mary-Kate Olsen recently filed for divorce from her husband

The Olsen twins are making a come-back in the news because Mary-Kate recently filed for divorce from her husband, Pierre Olivier Sarkozy. They’ve been together for a number of years, but apparently there is trouble in paradise.

A spokesperson for the New York courts told CNNthat Mary-Kate’s emergency filing for a divorce has been denied because of thecoronavirus (COVID-19). A judge has decided that the filing is “not essential”at this time.

“Only essential/emergency matters are allowed to be filed,” Lucian Chalfen, the New York courts’ spokesperson said about the situation. “The original filing was rejected by the New York County (Manhattan) clerk because they did not follow the essential matter procedure. They refiled under the essential matter procedure, and the matter was referred to an ex parte State Supreme Court Judge. He just decided that it is not essential, so they can’t file anything at this point.”

We will keep you updated on all the latest when it comes toMary-Kate’s divorce as we learn it.

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‘Sorry, we’re clothed’: Las Vegas Strip, strip clubs dark amid coronavirus pandemic

There’s no pole dancing during a pandemic.

“Sorry, we’re clothed,” reads the digital signet outside Little Darlings, a now-shuttered Las Vegas strip club that had stubbornly tried to remain open early on in the coronavirus outbreak.

The fully nude jiggle joint had tried to stay afloat by advertising “coronavirus-free” dancers, nude hand sanitizer wrestling and drive-thru strip shows — but to no avail.

The club sits just off a Vegas Strip that is now stripped of life.

The entirety of the famed boulevard has been shut down for the first time since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, according to The Guardian.

Like the nearly completely desolate Times Square, the abandoned Strip is a haunting illustration of an invisible pandemic.

Stragglers wandering through the country’s gambling epicenter are greeted with messages of hope on screens from closed casinos still patrolled by security guards. Palace Station’s sign announces, “Doors closed, hearts open.”

The closures are expected to devastate the state’s economy.

The Nevada Resort Association penned a letter to Congress asking for federal relief. The group estimated last month has warned the state has lost an estimated $2 billion from canceled meetings and conventions, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The shuttered strip could lead to nearly $39 billion in economic losses, the group said.

“This is an unprecedented economic situation that will have catastrophic financial ramifications for individuals, families, businesses and state and local budgets across the state,” the association’s President and CEO Virginia Valentine, wrote in the letter.

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