Over 200,000 urged to look out for letters being sent this month as they could be owed £1,000s

THOUSANDS of households are being urged to look out for letters showing they are owed potentially £1,000s.

The correspondence is being sent to around 210,000 people who are missing out on a full state pension due to a HMRC error.

Hundreds of thousands could get boosted state pensions or lump sums

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Hundreds of thousands could get boosted state pensions or lump sumsCredit: Getty

The error impacts those who took time off work to care for a child between 1978 and 2010 – mostly women.

Anyone who falls into this category could be owed money as they may be missing “Home Responsibilities Protection”.

It is understood around 150,000 of those impacted by the historic error, first revealed in 2022, are still alive while 60,000 are dead.

HMRC is writing letters to those who may be owed cash, and all those over state pension age by the end of this month.

Read more on State Pension

Those under state pension age will carry on receiving letters beyond June telling them they could qualify for help.

Ministers have previously said the majority of those impacted by the error will be contacted by April next year.

Anyone who has already received a letter telling them they could be eligible for money still needs to check if they qualify online.

If you haven’t received a letter you can check if you are eligible as well.

You can do this by going HMRC’s “HRP checker” on its website which asks you a few questions to decipher if you could be eligible.

You can find this here via www.gov.uk/home-responsibilities-protection-hrp/eligibility.

How to track down lost pensions worth £1,000s

Steve Webb, partner at pension consultants LCP, said: “The Government has admitted that hundreds of thousands of parents have missed out on part of their state pension due to an official error.  

“This is because time at home bringing up children has not been properly recorded on their National Insurance record.

“Although the Government is trying to identify such people, there are no longer any records of child benefit receipt from the 1980s and 1990s, so they may well miss people.

“If you think you may have missed out you can put in an application which could be worth thousands of pounds in back payments of underpaid state pension.”

How does the state pension work?

AT the moment the current state pension is paid to both men and women from age 66 – but it’s due to rise to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2046.

The state pension is a recurring payment from the government most Brits start getting when they reach State Pension age.

But not everyone gets the same amount, and you are awarded depending on your National Insurance record.

For most pensioners, it forms only part of their retirement income, as they could have other pots from a workplace pension, earning and savings. 

The new state pension is based on people’s National Insurance records.

Workers must have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance to get the maximum amount of the new state pension.

You earn National Insurance qualifying years through work, or by getting credits, for instance when you are looking after children and claiming child benefit.

If you have gaps, you can top up your record by paying in voluntary National Insurance contributions. 

To get the old, full basic state pension, you will need 30 years of contributions or credits. 

You will need at least 10 years on your NI record to get any state pension. 

Who is impacted and what can I do?

Those who claimed child benefit, largely women, prior to May 2000 as they could have gaps in their National Insurance (NI) record which affects how much state pension they receive.

This is because the amount of state pension you get is based on your NI contributions and number of qualifying years you have.

From 1978 to 2010, protection was provided for parents to avoid these gaps through a system known as Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP).

This system was then replaced in 2010 by the one NI credits, which is still in operation now.

However, if someone claimed child benefit before May 2000 and didn’t put their NI number on the form, their credits may not have been transferred to their NI account from the child benefit computer.

This, in turn, could impact their state pension entitlement.

Women who are now in their 60s and 70s are most likely to be affected.

The Government is now sending letters to thousands of people who might have been entitled to HRP between 1978 and 2010 but have no HRP on their NI record.

Where errors are found, NI records will be corrected and the Government will then recalculate state pensions and pay arrears.

This could result in increased pension payments as well as a lump sum payment.

Anyone who has received child benefit since 1978 should check their NI record.

If the payment is missing, there is a form that can be filled in to get the information added to your record.

It is called a CF411 form and can be found on the Government’s website.

You can also contact the HMRC helpline for an application form or for any other assistance.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk.

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