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Martin Lewis: Child Benefit warning for couples – are you missing out on £1,000s in future state pension payments?

If you're in a couple and claiming Child Benefit – or you aren't claiming because one of you earns £60,000 or more a year – you could be missing out on £1,000s or even £10,000s in future state pension payments. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis shared the warning and explained what you can do about it, on the latest episode of ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live.

The video and transcript are below. You can also read our Child Benefit guide to check if you're eligible and how to claim.

ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live – Tuesday 21 November

Martin Lewis explains how a Child Benefit admin tweak could add £1,000s to your state pension.
Embedded YouTube Video

From The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on Tuesday 21 November, courtesy of ITV. All rights reserved. Watch the full episode on ITVX

Transcript of what Martin Lewis said on the show

Martin Lewis: "Really important first one, this. It's about Child Benefit and the state pension. I have two state pension warnings for you..."

200,000 people are missing out on £1,000s or even £10,000s in state pension

"There are 200,000 of you out there who are missing out on thousands, or potentially tens of thousands of pounds, of state pension, because the wrong partner in your relationship is getting the national insurance credits.

"Now, you build up national insurance years – that gives you how much of the full state pension you get in the end. Those who are not working, or who are earning under £123 a week, are due national insurance credits for childcare. However, for many people in that circumstance, it is their partner who is working who does the childcare claim, not them. But the working partner already gets national insurance credits because they're working."

Check that the right partner is claiming Child Benefit

"So you want the non-working partner to be getting the credits and they, therefore, need to be the one who is claiming Child Benefit – 200,000 people. The form on Gov.uk is CF411A. You'll all be able to remember that, I'm sure. Or just freeze the frame or go and watch it back. 

"Absolutely crucial. Check who gets the Child Benefit. If you're not working, it should be in your name if you can. There may be some domestic abuse issues where it isn't appropriate, but in most cases... I know you've got something on that."

'We got eight years' worth of credits' – a state pension boost of £2,400 a year

Jeanette Kwakye (Martin's co-host): "We have got a success on this. It's from Jamie."

Martin: "Listen to this, guys."

Jeanette: "Jamie says: 'Thank you for helping my husband top up his state pension for free. We applied to transfer eight years' worth that I had received by claiming Child Benefit while working. Our claim was successful. We'd thought about paying to top up his contributions but couldn't afford it. It will make a real difference to us.'

"Isn't that great?"

Martin: "Let's just do some maths on that. That, I got that message based on the bigger piece I did on state pensions, which is what prompted me to do this. Here's the maths...

"Eight years – each one of those boosts your pension by £300 a year. So that's a boost on the final state pension of £2,400 a year. If you live 20 years, that's £48,000 extra state pension. This is not a trivial thing that I'm talking about – £48,000, eh? Wow."

Jeanette: "Very good."

Not claiming Child Benefit because one partner earns over £60,000? You should be

Martin: "Right. There's another one. There are many people who don't claim Child Benefit at all because one partner earns over £60,000. Therefore, you're not entitled to Child Benefit or you can get Child Benefit, but then the same amount is taken off you in tax.

"Yet if the other partner isn't working, they should be claiming Child Benefit to get the national insurance credits. So, what the other person should do is, should claim it – I know this sounds bonkers – claim it, but opt out of getting a payment.

"So 'I claim, but I don't want any money, thank you very much'. And that would ensure you get the national insurance credit. So another one there."

Finally, two important checks EVERYONE should make

"And something for everybody here, children or not. Two important Gov.uk checks you should all make. Check your national insurance record to see if you have any missing years and then check your state pension forecast to see if you're on track to get the full state pension.

"If you're not [on track], if you're not entitled to free years – and there are other allocations – you are able to buy back past years. For a payment of up to £800, it could be worth £5,000 over your state pension life.

"There are some articles online really worth reading that will explain this step by step and what you should do. Quite an important one there."

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