The new figures have been revealed by the Treasury Committee, which is now urging the Government to take action to prevent people from missing out.

Here at The Sun we've previously warned parents about the problem after one mum of two told us how she nearly lost out.

Registering for child benefit builds up entitlement to the state pension for mums and dads who are low earners or don't work as they're stay-at-home parents.

You need 35 years worth of national insurance contributions (NICs), which you typically build up by working, to get the full state pension of £8,546 a year.

But there are a number of problems with the system. Firstly, many parents don't register for child benefit because it's only paid to families earning under £60,000.

How is child benefit linked to the state pension?

Missing out on just one month's worth of NICs could see you lose £5,000 from the total value of your state pension, according to the HMRC.

Parents who aren't working or who don't earn enough to pay NICs can claim child benefit if their child or children are under 12 in order to qualify for NICs.

Where it gets complicated – and why many families are missing out – is due to a rule change in 2013 on who qualifies for child benefit.

This saw anyone earning more than £50,000 having to pay a charge to continue receiving the benefit.

This charge increases by 1 per cent for every £100 earned over £50,000. Once you earn £60,000, the charge effectively wipes out the gain you'd get by receiving child benefit.

But you can tick a box on the child benefit form to say you don't want to receive the benefit, which will ensure you still qualify for NICs.

And many parents don't realise this or are claiming in the higher earning parent's name.

The second issue, which is what the Treasury Committee has highlighted today, is that the higher earning parent has registered for the child benefit leaving their partner who doesn't work without the contributions.

To make sure you don't miss out, affected households can either change the child benefit claimant from the earning-parent to the parent with low-or-no income.

You can do this by calling the child benefit office on 0300 200 3100.

Or, if the earning-parent is able to stay as the claimant, they can transfer the national insurance credits to their spouse. You need to fill in and return the following form on to do this.

Parents should apply for national insurance credit transfers before the end of the following tax year, but HMRC says late applications may be considered where there are reasonable circumstances for the delay.

But if you haven't been claiming child benefit at all and need to submit a claim, you can only claim going back just three months.

Ex-pensions minister Steve Webb and pension firm Royal London launched a petition last year calling on the Government to change the rules.

The petition now has more than 10,000 signatures, which means the Government has to respond to it.

Can I claim child benefit?

You get £20.70 a week for your eldest or only child, and then £13.70 a week per child for any additional children.

You may have to pay a tax charge if you (or your partner’s) individual income is over £50,000. This is known as the ‘high income child benefit charge’.

If you don't want child benefit but still want to qualify for National Insurance Contributions, you can tick a box on the application to apply for a ‘zero rate’ of child benefit.

Commenting on today's new findings, Nicky Morgan MP and chair of the Treasury Committee, 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.”

For more info, check out our guide on are you eligible for child benefit, what’s the application, and is it separate to Universal Credit?

It was revealed earlier this year that one in five families are set to lose child benefit with 1 MILLION households to get nothing at all under a payments freeze.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of families have received letters chasing thousands in child benefit tax charges, although HMRC later U-turned on this policy.

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