The government has been accused of misleading workers near retirement over the amount to National Insurance Contributions (NIC) they need to make to qualify for the full state pension, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Last week the government published a white paper outlining plans for a £140-a-week flat rate state pension, hiking the years of NICs an individual would need to make to qualify from 30 to 35.
However, the Telegraph reported that since the white paper came out the government has written letters to those approaching retirement saying they would need just 30 years of NICs, saying the requirement had been reduced- a reference to the 2010 reduction when men reaching state pension age required 44 years of NICs, while women needed 39.
The Telegraph said many of the recipients would reach state pension age after 2017, so will be subject to the 35-year requirement if the flat-rate scheme is introduced on schedule.
Independent pension expert Ros Altmann told the Telegraph: ‘The letter should have mentioned the possibility that the rules would change,’ she said. ‘What's the point of sending out a letter that's clearly going to be wrong? It made it sound like the reduction to 30 years had just taken place and was good news.’