Mothers are encouraged to check whether they may be entitled to additional money after being underpaid state pension silver.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted an error in its latest annual report, which has led to pensioners being offered thousands of pounds of underpaid state pensions.
A new campaign has been launched by LCP Consultants to help secure millions on behalf of eligible mothers.
Since the late 1970s, the state pension system has included measures to protect parents whose National Insurance (NI) records are empty due to time spent without paid work raising children. The system was originally called “domestic liability protection” (HRP) and is now known as National Insurance Credits.
Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at LCP, said: ‘Again this mistake affects women massively and no doubt means thousands of people have been underpaid for years.
“Rather than waiting for the government to fix the problem, I would encourage anyone who has received Child Benefit since 1978/79 to check that the corresponding credits are on their NI file.
“If not, this can be settled by filling out a form, and the result could well be a higher pension and an attractive lump sum.”
To help parents see if this issue applies to them, LCP has launched a campaign website – lcp.uk.com/mothers-missing-millions (opens in a new tab) – which guides parents through the steps to verify their entitlement, check their NI file and fill out a form to have their entitlement added if necessary.
Lump sum of £4,000 for pensioner
In a case seen recently by LCP, 67-year-old Helen James from South Wales was awarded a lump sum of more than £4,000, after the DWP’s error deprived her of her pension entitlement.
James had a variety of jobs, including working at a school and in a local store, as well as caring for his children and young grandson. When she came to apply for her pension in July 2021, she was told she was not entitled to anything because she did not have the required minimum of 10 years of contributions.
It didn’t seem fair to Ms. James, and eventually she contacted Steve Webb at the LCP, who took up her case.
Mrs James made a successful claim for 12 years of protection from caring responsibilities from 1978/79 to 1989/90 and this meant she was now entitled to a pension.
She will now receive a weekly pension of just over £79 and a lump sum of over £4,000 for money she should have received since July 2021.
Ms James said: ‘It’s completely untrue that I was told I was not entitled to any pension, and if my daughter hadn’t read the media coverage on the matter I wouldn’t have maybe still nothing. I encourage any mother who has been denied child support to challenge the decision and have it checked.”
In a separate case, Lorraine Wainwright, 68, from Gloucestershire, has been awarded a lump sum of around £1,500, after her case was successfully confirmed, and her regular state pension will now be increased by more than £20 £ per week.
Ms Wainwright said: ‘I would encourage any parent who has spent time raising children to check that they have credits on their NI record.
“If I hadn’t checked my own file carefully, it is entirely possible that I would still be receiving the wrong pension rate. I welcome this new campaign, which could help thousands of mothers to receive their due.
The DWP annual accounts report recently noted that there were historical errors where credits for time spent at home with children were not accurately recorded in NI records.
The ministry said it was devoting time and effort to better understand the magnitude, potential causes and options for correcting these cases.
The DWP launched an exercise in January 2021 to deal with state pension cases where people were underpaid.
This included people who were widowed but whose state pension was not increased to include amounts they were entitled to inherit; married or civil partnership persons who can automatically benefit from an increase based on the spouse’s contributions; and persons aged 80 and over who are entitled to a certain minimum pension.
A government spokesperson said: “This year we will spend over £110bn on state pensions and support over 12.5m pensioners.
“We are investigating a domestic liability protection historical record issue, with work underway to identify those affected.”