Most of the women affected were housewives who claimed child benefits between 1978 and 2000. We will explain how to check your eligibility.
The government plans to write to hundreds of thousands of mothers who are missing out on their state pension due to a serious mistake.
Those affected have holes in their National Insurance records, affecting their entitlement to the state pension. Most of the women were housewives who claimed child benefit between 1978 and 2000.
If you made a claim without providing your National Insurance number, your National Insurance credit may not have been properly transferred. Your eligibility for the National Pension is determined by your National Insurance records.
National Insurance Credit helps you build up eligibility period if you are not paying your premiums, such as if you are unemployed, and was previously known as Home Liability Protection (HRP). HRP reduced the qualifying years required to claim the National Pension and was available to parents and carers from 1978 until 2010.
The total amount outstanding could reach £1.3 billion and 210,000 people could be affected, of whom 60,000 are now deceased. In such cases, their families have the right to check their eligibility and claim the arrears.
HMRC is currently writing to mothers who may be affected, who could each be liable to pay an average of £5,000. The letter-writing training will be carried out over the next 18 months, with priority given to people over pension age.
But former pensions minister Steve Webb warned that tens of thousands of people affected may not receive the letter. The government specifically acknowledges that it lacks information on those who were receiving child benefit before 2000. Of his 210,000 people affected, DWP expects to track 187,000 of his people.
Mr Webb, now a partner at LCP, said: “It is truly shocking that so many people are underpaid because of errors in National Insurance records regarding time spent at home with children. Worse still, tens of thousands of people (mostly mother) died without ever receiving a proper state pension.
“It is vital that HMRC and DWP are open and transparent about this whole process and that every effort is made to trace all eligible people.”
Mr Webb, who has campaigned on the issue for more than 10 years, helped a mother claim HRP after being underpaid for 14 years on the state pension. Rita Atkinson, whose name has been changed, applied to HMRC and received around £17,000 in back pay and her weekly state pension increased by £30 a week.
The 74-year-old previously received a state pension worth £134 a week, but lost his National Insurance credit for several years between 1978 and 1988.
How can I check if I am underpaid?
The main rules for qualifying for a one-year HRP from 1978 are:
You must receive the child benefit in your name (not your spouse or partner’s name)
Your child was under the age of 16 during the financial year
You did not pay the married woman’s “reduction stamp”
If you suspect that you have not enrolled, first check your National Pension and National Insurance records. For someone who reached pension age after 5 April 2010, any year of HRP/credit should appear as a full year on her NI record. If not, you may have missed it.
For people who reached pension age before 5 April 2010, HRP was recorded differently and you should call the NI Helpline to check if you have HRP on your record.
The Government has also created an online checker tool on Gov.uk to check whether you are eligible to make a claim. To claim missing HRP by March 2010, you must complete Form CF411.
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