Martin Lewis shares ‘important’ state pension alert affecting hundreds of thousands of people

Martin Lewis in pictures

Martin Lewis urged people to 'spread the word' about the HMRC state pension underpayment letter

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 12/10/2023

- 15:04

Updated: 17/04/2024

- 12:56

HMRC is currently writing to hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, who may have an underpaid state pension

Martin Lewis has urged people to “spread the word” that hundreds of thousands of people are set to get a letter from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), as they could be owed tens of thousands in underpaid state pension.

The financial journalist warned people it is not a scam, and they should not disregard the letter.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Lewis, who is the founder of Money Saving Expert, penned: “important. Pls spread word. 100,000s of people, mostly women age 66+ who took time off work for childcare between 1978 & 2010, are due to get an HMRC letter that may be worth £10,000s due to underpaid state pensions.

“It isn't a scam DON'T bin the letter.”(sic)

Pensioners look at documents

The DWP has set aside £1billion to pay them back people who have been underpaid their state pension


Mr Lewis proceeded to share a link to a story on the matter on the Money Saving Expert website.

The DWP has estimated more than 200,000 people have been underpaid their state pension, due to a failure to record time at home with children on National Insurance records.

The system at the time was known as Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) and it increased the state pension position of parents – mostly mothers – who got Child Benefit and were not in paid work.

The DWP has set aside £1billion to pay them back.

The typical state pension arrears payment will be around £2,000 in these cases, but some may be owed far more than this – for instance, a 74-year-old pensioner got a weekly state pension boost of £29.68 and a lump sum of £16,966.

A Government spokesperson said: “We have identified and are correcting an issue related to the historical recording of Home Responsibilities Protection on the National Insurance records for people who first claimed Child Benefit before May 2000.

“Most people’s records will be unaffected, and we have launched a new online tool to help people check whether they need to claim. HMRC will also begin writing to those likely to be affected this Autumn.

“Our priority is ensuring everyone receives the financial support to which they are entitled, and state pension underpayment rates due to Official Error remain low at 0.5 per cent of expenditure. Where errors do occur, we are committed to fixing them as quickly as possible.”

HMRC is currently contacting people it thinks are “most likely” to be affected by the matter, however, others may be underpaid so it could be worth checking if loved ones qualify.

Steve Webb, partner at LCP who has campaigned on this issue for over a decade, has urged people to check to see if they qualify.

He told GB News: “We know that large number of mothers, and particularly those who claimed Child Benefit before 2000, may have errors on their NI records.

Steve Webb from LCP headshot

Steve Webb, partner at LCP, has urged people to check to see if they are able to claim


“This happened because those claiming Child Benefit did not have to supply an NI number, and this means that the credits for time at home with children may not have been linked from the Child Benefit computer to the National Insurance computer.

“For mothers who spent many years at home with children the impact on their state pension can be very substantial.

“I would encourage any mother who claimed Child Benefit before 2000 and who is not on a full pension to make sure that they have been awarded any HRP they are due”.

The Government has created an online tool where people can self-assess to see if they might be entitled to HRP.

The link to claim for HRP on the website is here.

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