If the thought of opening your letterbox to a little brown envelope fills you with dread — don’t worry. We get it. But, Martin Lewis has warned us that ditching this particular one is not a good idea.
HMRC is set to send a letter to everyone, and the Money Saving Expert says it could be worth thousands.
That’s right, thousands. Especially if you’re a woman. Why? Because HMRC is about to write to thousands of women who took time off work for childcare between 1978 - 2010. This is because they may have something missing from their National Insurance records known as Home Responsibilities Protection (or HRP), which can have a huge effect on their state pension.
HRP was a scheme designed to ensure parents and carers kept hold of their State Pensions, which was replaced by National Insurance credits in April 2010. Your State Pension is based on how much money you’ve paid towards National Insurance as well as the number of ‘qualifying years’ you’ve accumulated.
So, if you claimed Child Benefit before May 2000, but didn’t give your National Insurance Number, then the number of qualifying years of HRP might be wrong. This is most likely to affect women in their 60s and 70s.
Presenting his new show The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on ITV1, the financial whiz explained to viewers how it works.
Telling the audience on his 24 October show, Martin said;
“His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is sending letters to hundreds of thousands of over 65s, 66 and older.
“DO NOT BIN THEM, they are not scams, this is crucial.
“The letter will be titled ‘You may be eligible for Home Responsibilities Protection’.
“I know, sexy title, but that’s what it will say.
“It’s mainly for women and it can be worth thousands of pounds or in some cases, tens of thousands.
“I got a success on this today, 30 grand, that’s why I say don’t bin it.
“Younger people will be able to do this later or you could look into doing it now but you will get your letters later.
“It’s basically because those who were caring for their family and not working should have been getting National Insurance boosts but weren’t.”
If you’re worried about being scammed, or having a letter sent that looks untoward, Martin reassures by saying: “Watch out for that letter.
“The Revenue have asked me not to publish the letter because they don’t want scammers to copy it. So I’m trying to tell you about the letter but not alert the scammers which is a bit difficult.”
He says to check that the letter sends you to the real gov.uk website and not an alternative one. That way, you can be extra sure that this letter is the real deal.