Over 200,000 parents could be missing out on entitlements which would bump up their state pension,say a committee of MPs.
The crucial state pension benefits could amount to as much as £8,500 a year.
According to figures handed to the Treasury Committee by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) roughly 3% of households receiving child benefit – equating to more than 200,000 are not receiving national insurance credits because the benefit is being claimed by the higher earning parent.
Parents of children under 12, for instance, who do not pay national insurance contributions can register for child benefit and build up a state pension if they stay at home to look after their children.
If a parent does not sign up for child benefit, however, they may be missing out on national insurance credits and part of their future state pension.
People who wish to qualify for a full state pension need to have 35 years of national insurance contributions under their belt.
‘Government needs to pull its finger out’
Nicky Morgan, the committee’s chair, said: “The Treasury Committee has long-warned the Government of the risk that for families with one earner and one non-earner, that if the sole earner claims child benefit, the non-earner, with childcare commitments, forgoes national insurance credits and, potentially therefore, their entitlement to a full future state pension.
“New figures today from HMRC show that over 200,000 parents may be in this situation, and therefore missing out on their pension.
“Now we have an idea of the scale of this problem, the Government needs to pull its finger out and make sure people are aware of the issue and know how to put it right.”
Former pensions minister, Sir Steve Webb added: “These figures show yet another way in which parents are missing out on the vital national insurance credits which are intended to protect their state pension.
“Now that HMRC has told us how many people are missing out, we need to hear how they plan to fix the problem.”
To find out if you are missing out on national insurance credits visit: gov.uk/national-insurance-credits