THOUSANDS of women could be missing out on thousands of pounds in retirement after errors.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted to mistakes that led to some women not being paid extra state pension payments.
The DWP has said this is the “second largest source of error in state pensions”.
If you were caring for a child under the age of 16, between 1978 and 2010, and your partner was paid child benefit payments, then you could be eligible for extra support under the Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) scheme.
You also could be eligible if you were taking care of a sick or disabled person during this time.
HRP was designed in 1978 to protect parents, mostly mothers, who spent time at home with children and might otherwise have missed out on valuable state pension rights.
The DWP said in July that it was working with HMRC to assess the scale of the error, but so far, there has been no public statement or plans put in place to fix it.
The error has caused thousands of women to miss out on extra state pension support.
HRP gives parents – mostly mothers – credit towards their state pension for time at home with their children.
Susan Burton, aged 66 and from the West Midlands almost missed out on £50,000 for her retirement because of this error.
She began withdrawing her state pension last year, getting just £132 a week.
But after reading about the error, she applied for HRP and was award 14 years of National Insurance credits.
As a result, her weekly pension will increase by over £50, which amounts to more than £2,500 a year or £50,000 in total in underpaid state pension payments.
Susan said: “It shouldn’t be down to people to have to check their own records and go online to make a claim, especially as many people of my generation are not that tech-savvy.
“Instead of making excuse all the time, DWP should check people’s pension properly and pay the right amount first time.
She added: “This extra payment will make a big difference to me and my family given the rising cost of living, and I would encourage any mother who is getting a low pension to check she is not missing out.”
Steve Webb, partner at LCP, who also runs the Mothers Missing Millions campaign, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that many thousands of mothers have been underpaid state pensions, including some who are now no longer with us.
“Whilst it is satisfying to be able to help individuals get their pension records corrected, what is really needed is concerted government action to fix this problem.
“But so far we have had ‘radio silence’ from the Government. DWP and HMRC have clearly known for many months that there is a problem and it is now time for them to tell us how many people are affected and, more importantly, how they plan to put things right.”
Apply for HRP support now
If you think you may be eligible, then you can apply for HRP support now.
To do this, just fill in a form on the gov.uk website titled ‘CF411’.
You can also contact the HMRC national insurance helpline for support too.
Those eligible were either:
- caring for a child with your partner who claimed Child Benefit instead of you or,
- caring for a sick or disabled person
You can also apply if you were a foster carer for a full tax year between 2003 and 2010.
You can still apply if you’re now over state pension age.
Most people got HRP automatically if they were:
- getting Child Benefit in their name for a child under the age of 16 and they had given the Child Benefit Office their National Insurance number.
- getting Income Support and they did not need to register for work because they were caring for someone who was sick or disabled.
This isn’t the first state pension blunder.
Last month, the DWP confirmed that retirees were underpaid by more than £1billion in total.
The DWP has been contacting those affected by the errors, mostly women who are widowed, divorced or who have some of their entitlement based on their husband’s pension contributions.
But many people could still be missing out on significant sums because there is little guidance for those concerned they are being underpaid their state pension.