The DWP have issued guidance on getting a free top up on pensions. A mistake has been made for a group of women many of whom will be in or approaching state retirement . You can correct it if you or your partner were off work looking after children before 2000.
What’s this about?
Some people may have Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) missing from their National Insurance records. This could affect their State Pension.
HRP was a scheme to help protect parents’ and carers’ entitlement to State Pension. National Insurance credits replaced HRP from 6 April 2010.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are working together to find people affected and correct their records so they receive the correct amount of State Pension.
Who may be affected
The amount of State Pension someone gets is based on their National Insurance record and the number of ‘qualifying years’ they have.
If someone claimed Child Benefit before May 2000 and did not provide their National Insurance Number on the claim, their National Insurance record may not show the correct number of qualifying years of HRP. This may affect their State Pension entitlement. Women in their 60s and 70s are most likely to be affected.
If someone first claimed Child Benefit after May 2000, they will not be affected do not need to contact HMRC. This is because it became mandatory in May 2000 to provide a National Insurance Number for Child Benefit claims.
Class 3 National Insurance credits for parents and carers (CPC) available from 6 April 2010 have been recorded correctly, as have partial periods of HRP.
What will happen next
There are no longer records available for everyone who may be eligible for HRP. This is because Child Benefit records are deleted 5 years after the claim ends, for data protection.
Without the Child Benefit records, it is not possible to identify every person who may be missing HRP. HMRC is using National Insurance records to identify as many people as possible who:
- might have been entitled to HRP between 1978 and 2010
- have no HRP on their National Insurance record
HMRC will write to people who meet these criteria, to find out if they are eligible to claim. If they are eligible, they can claim online. Once the application is processed, HMRC will update their National Insurance record.
- recalculate the State Pension entitlement for those over State Pension age
- let them know their recalculated State Pension entitlement and whether they are due any arrears
DWP will tell HMRC when they have recalculated the State Pension entitlement. A change in income could affect the amount of tax someone pays or the benefits someone is entitled to, including Pension Credit. HMRC will collect any Income Tax due on an increase in State Pension and on any arrears paid.
When this will happen
HMRC will start contacting people affected from Autumn 2023. This will happen in phases, in order of how close they are to State Pension age. Those over State Pension age will be contacted first.
HMRC and DWP will correct the National Insurance records and update State Pension entitlement as quickly as possible.
Some of the people affected may now have died. Their families will be entitled to check their eligibility and make a claim for any arrears they are owed.
There may be some people who are affected but who will not be identified by the search. HMRC may widen the search criteria once the initial contact has started.
What people should do if they think they’re affected
People do not need to call DWP or HMRC.
From Autumn 2023, HMRC will start contacting people affected in phases with further instructions. If they are eligible, they will be able to claim online.
The DWP says it will update its web page regularly as we start writing to people who may be affected from Autumn 2023.