Monday, 21 May 2007

Retired women missing out?

Here's a test of whether older people read blogs!

Last week (May 12th) I was on BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme talking about the position of some women who are now drawing less state pension than they should be. Working with the Times newspaper and Grant Thornton, we have identified a group of women who had children and spent time at home with them in the 1980s, who should have had their pension rights protected under a scheme called 'Home Responsibilities Protection' - but who aren't. We're not sure exactly why these women are missing out, but our hunch is that it is to do with a mismatch between the Child Benefit computer and the National Insurance computer.

I've been to see the pensions minister and he has agreed to look at a sample of cases to see if there is something systematic going on. I'm therefore now looking for some clearcut case studies of women who:

a) are now drawing a state pension, and are probably aged in their 60s or early 70s;
b) who had one or more child born after 1962 (so that they were still under 16 in 1978 when HRP came in);
c) who took time out of paid work in the late 1970s or 1980s with their under 16 child, and therefore didn't pay NI contributions in those years;
d) who are now drawing a reduced state pension because of gaps in their NI record, and whose pension documentation made no mention of Home Responsibilities Protection.

It's all a bit complicated, I know, but if we can find some clear cut case studies, hopefully we can persuade the Government to look again at this issue. Anyone who knows someone who might be affected is welcome to contact me by writing to Steve Webb MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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