HMRC £5,000 warning for more than 200,000 Brits as DWP corrects state pension error | Personal Finance | Finance


HMRC has been writing to some 210,000 pensioners about payments averaging £5,000 which they could be entitled to.

Lump sums have been announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for women claiming child benefit between 1978 and 2000 who were underpaid the state pension.

The underpayment arose because of issues surrounding missing Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) payments and National Insurance (NI) credits.

HRP was designed to safeguard state pension entitlement for parents and carers and replaced by NI in 2010. HMRC is using NI records to find people who may have been eligible for Home Responsibilities Protection, but whose NI record doesn’t show it.

If you claimed child benefit before May 2000 and didn’t provide your National Insurance (NI) number on the claim, your NI record may not show the right number of qualifying years of HRP.

This may affect your state pension entitlement, with women in their 60s and 70s most likely to be affected, according to the DWP. The amount of state pension a person gets is based on their NI record and the number of qualifying years they have accrued.

If you first claimed child benefit after May 2000, you will not be affected and so don’t need to contact HMRC. That’s because it became mandatory to provide an NI number for Child Benefit claims in May 2000.

Pensions minister Paul Maynard told Parliament some 187,000 people may have been underpaid. Mr Maynard said previously that the exercise to correct National Insurance records for those individuals impacted by errors in their HRP record is underway.

He said the HRP corrections exercise started with HMRC sending letters out in late 2023, with the start of cases being processed by the DWP early this year.

The pensions minister said the average underpayment for pensioners who are still alive is £5,000 while for those deceased the average is £3,000.

Eligibility criteria for HRP from 1978 includes claimants receiving child benefit in their own name and not that of a partner. Claimants‘ children also had to be aged 16 or under for the whole of the financial year and claimants mustn’t have been paying the married woman’s „reduced stamp“.

A full breakdown of eligibility criteria is available at Gov.uk’s Home Responsibilities Protection page.

If you think you have been underpaid, check your state pension entitlement and NI record. Those who reached state pension age after April 5, 2010, will see HRP or credits appear as complete years on their NI records.

If HRP credits don’t appear in that way, it may be possible you have been underpaid the state pension.

People who reached retirement age before April 5, 2010, should phone the NI helpline to check if HRP appears on their records.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to make a claim, visit the Government’s online checker tool at gov.uk/home-responsibilities-protection-hrp/eligibility.

You can make a claim by post or online. It is also possible to transfer HRP from another person. HMRC’s National Insurance helpline can be contacted for an application form on 0300 200 3500 from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

A DWP spokesperson said the action the Government is taking will correct historical underpayments made by successive Governments.

They added: „We are fully committed to addressing these errors, not identified under previous Governments, as quickly as possible. We have set up a dedicated team and devoted significant resources towards completing this.“



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