Martin Lewis: hundreds of thousands of UK women could be owed £10,000 by HMRC - check if it's you

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Women and men who took time off work to care for family between 1978 and 2010 could be owed thousands of pounds, money saving expert Martin Lewis has said.

Hundreds of thousands of people - mostly women - in the UK could be owed up to £10,000 if they took time off work to care for their family between 1978 and 2010, Martin Lewis has said.

The money saving expert took to X, formerly Twitter, to reveal the news, warning people not to throw away a letter they are due to receive from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as it is "NOT" a scam.

Mr Lewis explained that the government department is writing to people across the UK who may be missing out on their full state pension entitlement due to an error in national insurance records. Specifically, the error affects those who took time out of their careers to look after children, a person with a disability, or a person with a long-term illness between 1978 and 2010 - meaning it is primarily women at risk.

The reason for this is that some of these women may have the Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) - a scheme designed to help protect parents' and carers' entitlement to the State Pension - missing from their National Insurance record. HRP was replaced by National Insurance Credits from 6 April, 2010.

According to DWP, an estimated £1.3 billion is owed to those affected. Of the 210,00 people it believes are impacted, the majority are women in their 60s and 70s.

In his post on X, Mr Lewis said: "Important. Please spread word. 100,000s of people, mostly women age 66+ who took time off work for childcare between 1978 & 2010, are due to get HMRC letter that may be worth £10,000s due to underpaid state pensions. It isn't a scam, DON'T bin the letter."

He also included a link to his website, which outlines more information. Here's everything you need to know, including how to check if you are owed thousands of pounds.

Hundreds of thousands of people - mostly women - in the UK could be owed up to £10,000 if they took time off work to care for their family between 1978 and 2010, Martin Lewis has said. Credit: Getty ImagesHundreds of thousands of people - mostly women - in the UK could be owed up to £10,000 if they took time off work to care for their family between 1978 and 2010, Martin Lewis has said. Credit: Getty Images
Hundreds of thousands of people - mostly women - in the UK could be owed up to £10,000 if they took time off work to care for their family between 1978 and 2010, Martin Lewis has said. Credit: Getty Images | Getty Images

What will the letter from HMRC look like?

The letter from HMRC will be titled "You May Be Eligible For Home Responsibilities Protection". It will direct you to visit the Gov.uk HRP page.

If you are worried the letter you have received may be a scam, you can contact HMRC on 0300 200 3500 to check if it is authentic, or you can check a list of recent letters sent out by the department at Gov.uk.

Who is eligible?

You could be missing out on money if you were eligible to receive Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) between 1978 and 2010 and it was missed off your record. You should have received HRP between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010 if you were claiming:

  • Child Benefit for a child under 16
  • Income Support because you were looking after a disabled person or a person with a long-term illness and were therefore not able to work

If you were eligible and received a letter, you can submit a claim online to apply for HRP, and, if the entitlement was missed, HMRC will update your National Insurance record which could increase your state pension payments.

What if I am eligible but I haven't received a letter?

Don't panic. Letters are being sent out in phases, with those over state pension age being contacted first. This is because they are most immediately affected, as the gaps in their records could be having a direct impact on the payments they are currently receiving.

Letters will next be sent out to those close to retirement, before HMRC moves down through the age groups. If you're still years off state pension age, it's best to hold off applying for the time being and wait for HMRC to contact you.

If you are above state pension age and don't receive a letter in the next few weeks, you can always contact HMRC. It's worth making sure they have your correct address, especially if you moved home recently.

What if the person who is eligible has died?

Sadly, it is likely that some people will have died before they received the compensation they are owed. People are questioning whether the entitlement can be passed on to the next of kin, and Mr Lewis has said on his website that he is inquiring with HMRC about what the process will be.

This page will be updated with more information when it appears, as will the article on MoneySaving Expert.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.