I'm getting £6,000 a year in state pension just from claiming free NI credits – how you can too | The Sun

A SAVVY mum-of-two has revealed how she has managed to bag £6,000 a year in state pension, just from claiming child benefit.

Sumitra Dasgupta, 68, lives in Kent with her husband, who is an NHS doctor.

They have two children, a son who was born in 1982 and a daughter born in 1987 and claimed child benefit for each.

And despite never having a National Insurance (NI) number, and no NI record, she has been able to claim £100 a week in state pension.

For your state pension, you need 35 qualifying years of NI contributions to receive the full amount.

At the moment, this is worth £203.85 a week, or £10,608 a year.



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This is set to increase next year to £11,501 next year, a weekly rise from £203.85 to £221.20.

You need an NI number before you can start paying NI contributions.

But if you claimed child benefit, you will have built-up credit.

This is so that people who took time out of work to care for their children aren't left with gaps in their pension.

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Sumitra was born in the UK, had her education abroad and moved back with her husband after her studies to start a family.

She was entitled to Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) for the period 1983/84 – the first full financial year after her child was born – and up to 2001/ before her younger child turned 16.

HRP was a scheme to protect parents' and carers' State Pension.

National Insurance credits replaced HRP in 2010.

Most people got HRP automatically if they were getting child benefit in their name for a child under the age of 16.

But Sumitra had difficulty getting her hands on the cash because she didn't have an NI number and wasn't seeking employment.

She contacted Steve Webb, partner at LCP and former pensions minister, who alongside the DWP and HMRC, helped her to get a NI number.

Sumitra was then able to get HRP added to her new NI account and claim a state pension.

She now gets a pension of over £6,000 and was able to make a backdated claim for the last 12 months.

Steve Webb said it's possible that there may be people who do not have an NI number but who could still have a state pension entitlement.

He added: “There may be significant numbers of women who have been told that they are not entitled to a state pension because they do not have a National insurance record. 

"But since 2010 it has been possible to get a state pension purely on the basis of NI credits, such as those derived from claiming Child Benefit. 

"As people can be paid Child Benefit without having had an NI number, there could be many people who are missing out. 

"Although it is a painstaking process, getting an NI number and then getting time at home with children credited to your NI account, this can be the gateway to a state pension. 

"I would encourage any woman who has been told she is not entitled to a pension to explore this route”.

What is a National Insurance number?

Most people are assigned a National Insurance number at the start of their adult life.

This allows them to build up a National Insurance record and qualify for NI benefits such as the state pension. 

It’s made up of letters and numbers and never changes throughout your life.

Some companies and government bodies rely on this number to ensure that you pay the right taxes and for your work status in the UK.

The companies who use your NI number are:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • your employer
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (which includes Jobcentre Plus and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service)
  • your local council, if you claim Housing Benefit
  • Electoral Registration Officers
  • the Student Loan Company, if you apply for a student loan
  • your pension provider if you have a personal or stakeholder pension
  • your Individual Savings Account (ISA) provider, if you open an ISA

Can I still claim state pension without a National Insurance number?

Since 2000 it has been a requirement to include a National Insurance number in order to claim Child Benefit.

But before this date, it was not required to supply an NI number. 

This means that parents – mostly mothers – who claimed Child Benefit before this date could be potentially eligible for the credits which come with claiming Child Benefit, but not have an NI account to match them to.

For mothers in this situation, LCP recommends taking the following steps:

Apply for an NI number

To get a National Insurance number you need to apply online at Gov.uk.

You’ll need to prove your identity when you apply, and your passport is the best way to do this.

You can still apply if you don't have a passport, but you may need to attend an appointment in person to prove your identity.

You will also need to take and upload a photograph of yourself holding the passport.

This can be taken on a smartphone, tablet or a digital camera.

If you can't do this, you may need to attend an appointment or post photocopies of your documents.

You’ll get an email telling you what to do after you’ve submitted your application.

Apply for home responsibilities protection (HRP)

HRP was a scheme to protect parents' and carers' State Pension.

National Insurance credits replaced HRP in 2010.

Most people got HRP automatically if they were getting child benefit in their name for a child under the age of 16 and they had given the child benefit office their National Insurance number.

If you think you may be entitled, but you have questions, the Pension Service can be reached using the gov.uk website or by calling 0800 731 0469.

Apply for state pension

Once you have an NI number and one or more years of NI contributions or credits, you may be able to get a state pension.

The new state pension requires a minimum of ten years of contributions or credits to get any pension.

But anyone who is just short of the ten-year target may choose to pay voluntary contributions to reach the minimum threshold.

The Sun has put together a guide on paying for voluntary contributions – and you could boost your pension by thousands.

For women whose entire NI record consists entirely of NI credits from time at home with children, state pension will only be payable for those who reached pension age after April 5, 2010. 

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Before this date, it was necessary to have actually paid one or more years of contributions in order to get a pension.

Meanwhile, we spoke to a businesswoman who gets £3,000 extra a YEAR in state pension with an easy move.

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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