DWP state pension backpayment update as letters sent to women owed £5,000 | Personal Finance | Finance

The has confirmed that letters are being sent to people who may have been underpaid their .

This comes following a recent report that found hundreds of thousands of people who were historically entitled to Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) had gaps in their records due to DWP errors.

Subsequently, an estimated 210,000 people, mostly women, may have been underpaid some £1.3billion. This could therefore see those affected owed as much as £5,00 each.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has said that those closest to the state pension age in their 60s and 70s will get their letters first.

The DWP and HMRC, which administers National Insurance records, are working together to source the underpaid people.

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain asked the Treasury how many responses to the HMRC-issued letters have been received and how much has been paid in arrears.

In a written response, Treasury Minister Nigel Huddleston MP said that information will be published “regularly, beginning in the coming months”.

He said: “The main corrections exercise for the historic Home Responsibilities Protection issue began in autumn 2023. HMRC and DWP are currently working through the initial responses at this early stage in the exercise.

“The Government will publish key management information on the exercise, established between the HMRC and DWP regularly, beginning in the coming months.”

For those unsure whether they’ve been affected by this state pension error, Spencer Churchill experts said: “It’s vital to review your National Insurance record and understand your eligibility, particularly concerning Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP).

“Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if needed. It’s not just about recovering what’s owed; it’s about safeguarding your rights as a pensioner.”

Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) was a scheme to help protect parents’ and carers’ state pension. National Insurance credits replaced HRP in 2010.

People will have received HRP automatically if between April 6, 1978, and April 5, 2010, they were claiming:

  • Child Benefit for a child under 16
  • Income Support because they were looking after a sick or disabled person and were not available for work.

Dame Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said: “The DWP’s future strategy relies on assessing many millions of claims over the next few years and contracting out this work brings its own risks.

“We will be continuing to scrutinise this work closely, as it is essential for public confidence in the system that the Government fights fraud with unswerving determination while ensuring legitimate claims remain undisrupted.”

A spokesperson for the DWP previously responded to the PAC’s comments, saying: “Our priority is ensuring everyone receives the financial support they are entitled to, and state pension underpayment rates due to Official Error remain low at 0.5 percent of expenditure. Where errors do occur, we are committed to fixing them as quickly as possible.”

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