Mothers could be owed £6,000 in pensions if there’s a gap in their NI record, says Paul Lewis
Up to 330,000 women have been paid too little state pension, says Paul Lewis
Up to 330,000 women have been paid too little state pension because the time they spent looking after their children has been ignored in the calculation. The average underpayment is round £6,000, although most will get rather less. The women affected claimed child benefit before May 2000 for children under the age of 16 and spent time away from work to look after them. Each year that they claimed child benefit and did not work left a gap in their National Insurance Contribution record.
That should have been partly offset by reducing the number of years’ contributions they needed for a full pension – that was known as Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP). But before 2000 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) didn’t require National Insurance numbers for child benefit claims so they couldn’t be matched to contribution records. Child benef it records were destroyed after five years, so His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) faces a big challenge to identify the women affected. It hopes to have some sort of list by To receive emails with our latest news and offers, visit radiotimes.com/email this autumn and start contacting those identified, who will then have to apply for the missing years to be taken into account and subsequently ask the DWP to recalculate their pension.
It will take four years or more to complete the exercise. Women who may be affected are officially advised to wait to be contacted, but HMRC has admitted it is unlikely to find them all. Women can take action themselves. The DWP says they must first contact HMRC because it cannot recalculate the pension without an amended National Insurance record. HMRC recommends they wait for a new “digital service checker” and says it will write to “all potentially affected customers”.
However, if your state pension is less than the full amount, you got child benefit for a child under 16 for some years before May 2000 and you weren’t working for some of those years, you can apply for missing HRP for 1978 to 2010 on form CF411 or online at gov.uk (search “Application for Home Responsibilities Protection”). It will take time but could speed up thousands of pounds in backdated payments – and a bigger pension for the rest of your life.
QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com. I cannot answer you personally, but I will reflect them in this column.