HMRC writing to 210,000 Britons as they could be eligible for £5,000 after DWP state pension error - are you?

Woman reading letter and HMRC letter

Historic "errors" has resulted in women being underpaid the state pension

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Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell


Published: 23/06/2024

- 10:40

Thousands of women may have missed out on the full state pension amount due to historic 'errors'

Some 210,000 pensioners across the country will receive letters in brown envelopes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) informing them if they are entitled to £5,000 payments.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced lump sums averaging this amount have started being awarded to women underpaid the state pension, who claimed Child Benefit between 1978 and 2000.


Why are pensioners receiving £5,000 payments?

This underpayment is a result of issues coming from missing Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) and National Insurance credits.

HRP was created to safeguard parents’ and carers’ entitlement to the state pension but was replaced with National Insurance in 2010, with workers needing 35 years of contributions to qualify for the retirement benefit's full amount.

HMRC is using National Insurance records to find individuals who may have been eligible for HRP between 1978 and 2010 but its not appearing on their National Insurance record.

Since May 2020, it has been mandatory to include a National Insurance number on Child Benefit, which many parents claim to bolster their National Insurance record.

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Pensioner sits on sofa in pictures

Women in their 60s and 70s could have missed out on thousands of pounds

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As such, many women in their 60s and 70s are likely to have been underpaid the state pension. According to DWP pensions minister Paul Maynard, some 187,000 people are expected to have been underpaid the retirement benefit.

Responding to questions from MPs in Parliament, he said: "The exercise to correct National Insurance records for those individuals impacted by errors in their HRP record is underway.

“The HRP corrections exercise started with HMRC dispatching letters in late 2023. Cases subsequently notified from HMRC started being processed in DWP in early 2024.”

Maynard cited that the average underpayment for pensioners who are live comes to £5,000 and £3,000 for deceased cases.

How to check if you are eligible for £5,000 payment?

The main eligibility criteria for being eligible for HRP from 1978 included the following:

  • Claimants had to be receiving Child Benefit in their own name and not that of a spouse or partner.
  • Children of claimants had to be under 16 for the whole of the financial year
  • Claimants must not have been paying the married woman's "reduced stamp".
Anyone who believes they have missed out should check their state pension entitlement and National Insurance record.
Britons who hit the state pension age after April 5, 2010 will have any year of HRP/credits appear as a complete year on your NI record.

If HRP credits do not show up in this way, it could be the case that the state pension has been underpaid.

For individuals who reached retirement age on or before April 5, 2010, HRP was recorded in a different way and they need to phone the National Insurance helpline to check if there is HRP on your record

Pensioners look worried at laptop

Britons are being urged to check their National Insurance and HRP record

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An an online checker tool is available to use on the Government's website to see if someone is eligible to make a claim.

In order to receive any missing HRP up until March 2010, pensioners will need to fill in the CF411 form.

A spokesperson for the DWP said: "The action we are taking now will correct historical underpayments made by successive Governments.

"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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