Overpayment of pension made as part of divorce settlement to be honoured
Scottish Widows misquoted the value of the Husband’s pension within the context of divorce and financial proceedings, substantially over-valuing the fund. As a result, and as the company consistently and repeatedly made the mistake, the Wife did eventually receive an overpayment in her pension share of over £97,000.
Scottish Widows sought to recoup the overpayment from the Wife, writing to her and informing her that they had made an error in calculating her Husband’s pension. They indicated that they would be contacting her own fund (containing the pension share and overpayment) to seek a refund of the overpayment.
The matter was referred to the Pensions Ombudsman who found that the Wife would be caused such injustice (by having to repay) that this was outweighed the injustice to Scottish Widows. It would be inequitable to require her to repay the funds. The Ombudsman found that the error had occurred due to maladministration by Scottish Widows, and if that had not occurred, the Wife would have been able to negotiate appropriately within the matrimonial proceedings. As it was, she would otherwise be left having to consider reopening the financial order settling her matrimonial claims.
The Ombudsman suggested that asking the Wife to repay the overpayment and then directing Scottish Widows to compensate her, would be ‘an unnecessarily cumbersome way to resolve matters.’
Scottish Widows was directed not to take any steps to recover funds from the Wife, and to pay the sum of £250 to her following the distress and anxiety caused to her.
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