Mystery of lost years in pension forecast: Sue Fieldman tackles a puzzling and costly discrepancy that has confused even the DSS
Saturday 06 March 1993
She is not alone in her confusion. A press spokesman for the DSS is also completely mystified.
Like thousands of married women, Mrs Luckhurst stopped working when she had children. In 1978, while she was still at home, she asked for information about her pension entitlement.
She was told that at age 60 she would qualify for a pension of 65 per cent of the standard rate.
She subsequently returned to work. In 1990 she received a notice that she had underpaid contributions to the tune of pounds 3.95.
Mrs Luckhurst says: 'This in itself was mysterious, since I had been paying through PAYE. I asked for a pension forecast in order to ascertain whether any other payments had been ommitted, but learned it was only the pounds 3.95.
'My pension forecast was shown at 59 per cent. I paid the pounds 3.95 and received a new pension forecast which, to my dismay, showed a pension of only 62 per cent.
'Upset by the discrepancy between this and my 1978 65 per cent quotation, I took the matter up with the DSS.'
The DSS has tried to explain the discrepancy, but the explanation is incomprehensible. Mrs Luckhurst says: 'My problem is that I fail entirely to understand why, when having carefully maintained a payment record since 1978, the DSS has now deemed me to have 12 instead of 17 reckonable years between 1978 and my retirement date of 21 August 1995.
'I am currently a full-time university student and am maintaining my contributions voluntarily.'
A DSS spokesman admitted: 'I am confused as well.' He suggested that Mrs Luckhurst ask her local DSS office to get the file reviewed. If the review did not throw up a satisfactory answer, then there were appeal procedures that could be implemented.
We intend to return to this story when Mrs Luckhurst's case has been reviewed. Meanwhile, if you are unable to work because you look after children, then you need not lose out on your basic retirement pension just because you do not pay National Insurance contributions.
Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) can safeguard your basic retirement pension.
When your pension is being worked out, the number of years for which you get HRP will be taken away from the number of qualifying years you would otherwise need for a full pension.
You will get the full pension if you achieve this reduced number of qualifying years, except where the number of years is less than 20.
But remember, HRP only affects the basic pension, not Serps, the additional earnings- related pension, and this can affect a later decision over opting in or out of Serps.
You can get HRP for any complete tax year after April 1978 if, throughout the year, you were the main payee getting child benefit for a child under 16.
Many people who stay at home to look after children get HRP automatically. But it is worthwhile checking with the DSS.
Anyone who wants to know what their future pension entitlement is can always get a pension forecast using form BR19, available from local DSS offices by telephone.
You will receive in due course a lengthy forecast letter. David Rothenberg, of the chartered accountants Blick Rothenberg, says: 'They are beautifully typed, often totally incomprehensible, and not always right, particularly where people have received HRP.
'Some years ago my wife got a pension forecast saying that it was on the basis that she was not entitled to HRP. In the same post she had a letter setting out her HRP entitlement.'
If you want to double check the forecast you can always ask for details of your contribution record. Apply to the Contribution Queries Section of the DSS in Newcastle.
21 April 2015 09:54 AM
The firm’s revenues slumped by a third to £217 million in 2014
21 April 2015 12:00 AM
The average quote for a buildings and contents policy has fallen by 3.6 per cent
10 April 2015 07:00 PM
15 April 2015 12:56 PM
Joining Barclays Blue Rewards costs £3 a month but then lets customers in for handouts of up to £15 a month
15 April 2015 07:27 AM
A charity is urging anyone struggling financially to see if they could get help from the state
13 April 2015 11:39 AM
Video: With an election looming, a hung parliament could hit sterling
03 April 2015 08:00 PM
03 April 2015 08:00 PM
02 April 2015 01:14 PM
Video: Tom McPhail, head of pensions at Hargreaves Lansdown, says May's outcome could alter your pension
30 March 2015 04:22 PM
Video: Simon Read talks to Fidelity's Tom Stevenson
01 April 2015 12:00 AM
Video: The Independent's Personal Finance Editor runs you through the key facts about Premium Bonds
27 March 2015 08:30 PM
27 March 2015 08:30 PM
20 March 2015 07:30 PM
Donald MacInnes: 'I have to have £500 a month spare from now until at least 2035'
HSBC becomes first bank to offer five-year fixed rate mortgage with interest rate under 2%
Are finance apps stealing your personal data?
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
Barclays new Blue Rewards hands cash to customers. What’s the catch?
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000