Hundreds of millions of pounds have been handed out to people who were not being paid the correct amount of their state pension.

A UK Government exercise to identify people who should have had their pension increased but didn’t, found tens of thousands of people were due more cash.

The UK-wide investigation, between January 2021 and February 2023, uncovered there were 46,716 pensioners who were being underpaid to the tune of £300million.

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In each case, it resulted in cash owed and the average pay out being thousands of pounds in back money.

It included 22,276 married pensioners who received an average of £6,630 in a total payout of £147m.

There were 14,512 over 80s who got an average of £2710 totalling £39m.

And 9928 widowed pensioners were paid out an average of £11,521 in a £113m payout.

The DWP said: “In 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions became aware of a number of individuals who had not had their State Pension increased, in accordance with the law, automatically when this should have occurred.

“This prompted the department to take action to investigate the extent of the problem.”

In some cases, there were underpayments which meant an overpayment of other benefits like pension credit and the value of the overpayment was nil.