Former pensions minister Steve Webb has launched a petition calling on government to search its records to identify all women who have been underpaid their state pension.

If the petition receives 10,000 signatures, the government will respond, and if it gathers 100,000 signatures before March 7, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.

Sir Steve, a partner at consultancy LCP, first raised the issue of state pension underpayments for married women back in May.

Women are being urged to check their state pension as under the old system married women could claim a basic state pension at 60 per cent of the full rate based on their husband’s contributions, where this would be bigger than the pension they would get based on their own contributions.

Since March 17, 2008, this uplift should have been applied automatically, but before this date, a married woman had to make a “second claim” to have her state pension increased when her husband turned 65 – and many women did not make that claim.

LCP found the Department for Work and Pensions’ record checks, which see the government proactively contact women for repayments, captured only women who married after March 2008.

LCP estimates the DWP has already refunded several million pounds to hundreds of women.

Sir Steve said: “Rather than wait for women to claim their correct state pension rate one by one, government should use its records to track down all the women who are being underpaid and put things right. Please sign our new petition and spread the word.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We are aware of a number of cases where individuals have been underpaid 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.”