‘I think my state pension is being underpaid – how do I claim?’ Steve Webb on how to check eligibility

Pensioner on phone with laptop looking at letter

HMRC is writing to people it thinks are 'likely' to be affected by this issue which could leave them missing out on hundreds in state pension

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 27/09/2023

- 15:06

Updated: 11/10/2023

- 16:17

A 74-year-old pensioner was able to get a £29.68 increase to her state pension and a lump sum of £16,966 after years of being underpaid

Hundreds of thousands of people could be missing out on the state pension they’re entitled to due to a failure to record time at home with children on National Insurance records.

The DWP estimates more than 200,000 people have been underpaid due to Home Responsibilities Protection being missing from their National Insurance record, setting aside £1billion to pay them back.

The Government will begin contacting people it thinks are “likely” to be affected, however, as HMRC does not know whose National Insurance records are incorrect due to Child Benefit receipt data not having been retained, some may need to proactively put in a claim.

A GB News reader who thinks she may be affected got in touch this week, asking how she could find out.

HMRC sign outside department

HMRC does not know whose National Insurance records are incorrect


The woman, 75, received Child Benefit for three children in the years 1978/79.

GB News contacted Sir Steve Webb, partner at LCP who has campaigned on this issue for over a decade.

The former pensions minister replied: “For women who reached state pension age after April 6, 2010 it’s relatively easy.

“Years of HRP are converted into full qualifying years towards your state pension and will show up in your online NI record. (They won’t be marked HRP, but basically any year you think you should have been getting HRP should now show as a qualifying year in your online NI record. If not, then you need to apply).

“For women who reached state pension age before April 6, 2010 (such as your reader, unfortunately) they don’t show HRP on online HRP records. Although there is a reason for this (HRP years aren’t quite the same as full NI qualifying years) it is maddening!

“So all that people can do is phone the NI contributions helpline and ask if there is HRP on their record. If not, then they can apply."

The link for applying for HRP on Gov.uk is here.

Have you got a pension story you'd like to share or a question for the experts? Get in touch with our money team at money@gbnews.uk.

The Government says people should check if they are eligible before applying, which they can do via the new eligibility checker.

This HMRC tool walks people through, in general terms, the rules on HRP and whether it might be worth applying. However, this general guidance doesn’t connect to a personal National Insurance record, however.

Sir Steve is urging people who think they could be affected to check they have been awarded any HRP they are due.

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.

"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. So 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."

Steve Webb in pictures

Steve Webb explained what people who think they may be affected by the state pension issue should do


The main rules, which apply from when the system was introduced in 1978/79 are:

  • You were receiving Child Benefit in your own name (not that of a spouse or partner);
  • Your child was under 16 for the whole of the financial year in question;
  • You were not paying the married woman’s ‘reduced stamp’.

LCP has created its own website to help people check their National Insurance record for HRP.

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.”

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