State Pension back payments of £5,000 due for women in their 60s and 70s by end of next year

Hundreds of thousands of older women are due to receive a letter from HM Revenue and Customs letting them know their National Insurance (NI) record may contain missing periods of Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) which in turn has affected the level of Basic or New State Pension they are entitled to. The Treasury started issuing these letters in September last year and is working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to correct any administration errors as quickly as possible.

Some 210,000 older people - mostly women - are due a share of underpayments totalling £1.3 billion, equivalent to around £5,000 each. DWP has also previously said that those closest to the State Pension age in their 60’s and 70s are being issued letters first, however, anyone who thinks they may have been affected can check their eligibility online using the self-identification tool on GOV.UK here.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Nigel Huddleston MP also told the Commons earlier this year that this latest stream of historical errors is expected to be rectified before the end of next year.

Mr Huddleston MP told MPs that the main cause of the issue was that NI numbers were not always recorded when people claimed Child Benefit before 2000. The UK Government have estimated that around 210,000 individuals may have been affected by missing periods of HRP between 1978 and 2000.

He explained how HRP was a scheme that ran between April 6, 1978 and April 5, 2010 and reduced the number of qualifying years of NI contributions a person with caring responsibilities needed to receive the full Basic State Pension.

He said: “The main cause of the issue was that NI numbers were not always recorded when customers claimed Child Benefit before 2000. The UK Government have estimated that around 210,000 individuals may have been affected by missing periods of HomeResponsibilities Protection.

“HMRC and DWP are working together to correct cases as quickly as possible. HMRC started contacting potentially impacted customers from September 2023, prioritising those above State Pension age. They aim to identify and contact the majority of individuals who may have been affected over the next 18 months so that those eligible receive any arrears payments as quickly as possible.”

He continued: “To correct this issue, potentially impacted customers will be invited to check their eligibility and make an application to HMRC for Home Responsibilities Protection. To help individuals determine their eligibility, a self-identification tool is available on

“Where an application is successful, those with a State Pension impact will have their award corrected and any arrears paid.”

He added that HMRC and DWP will also conduct a wider campaign to ensure that all those who may be eligible are aware of the correction exercise.

Before making an application, people can learn more about Home ResponsibilitiesProtection, check the eligibility criteria and find the application form online at GOV.UK.

State Pension underpayments in a nutshell

In 2020, the DWP became aware of a number of individuals who had not had their State Pension increased, in accordance with the law, automatically when this should have occurred. This prompted the Department to take action to investigate the extent of the problem.

There are three broad categories of State Pension underpayments:

  • cases covered by the State Pension Underpayments (LEAP) exercise

  • Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) cases where HRP has not been recorded accurately on National Insurance records

  • Cases where National Insurance credits need to be updated for people who were claiming Universal Credit.

An older woman is holding her granddaughter as they sit on an outdoor bench together, smiling.
DWP estimates 210,000 older people may have been affected by shortfalls on their National Insurance record. -Credit:Getty Images

State Pension underpayment progress - February 2024

The number of cases reviewed, arrears identified and payments made between January 2021 and February 2024 are listed below.

Married (Cat BL)

  • Cases reviewed: 317,955

  • Underpayments identified: 43,367

  • Average arrears: £5,713

  • Total amount repaid: £243.8 million

Widowed (Cat B)

  • Cases reviewed: 298.099

  • Underpayments identified: 21,175

  • Average arrears: £12,486

  • Total amount repaid: £262.3 million

Over 80 (Cat D)

  • Cases reviewed: 89,634

  • Underpayments identified: 32,474

  • Average arrears: £2,192

  • Total amount repaid: £65.5 million

How to check if you are affected or make a claim

There are now nearly 12.7 million people across Great Britain claiming State Pension, including more than one million in Scotland. Of that overall total, 9.3 million are in receipt of the Basic State Pension and 3.4 million on the New State Pension.

The Basic State Pension is now worth up to £169.50 each week and the New State Pension up to £221.20.

A phone call to the pension service is the quickest way to find out if you have been underpaid your State Pension. The best number to call is 0800 731 0469 but full contact details can be found on the website here.

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