National Insurance alert: Carers could lose full state pension by missing vital credits

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Carer’s Credit is a benefit designed to help people who looked after a loved one for at least 20 hours per week. It is a National Insurance credit that helps someone with gaps in their National Insurance record. A person may have gaps in their record if they stopped working for a period of time to start a family or care for something.

This could affect a carer’s retirement plans as the state pension is based on their National Insurance record.

If someone is eligible for Carer’s Credit, they will be able to claim crucial credits to fill in the gaps left on their National Insurance record.

This service is available as it allows people to continue with their caring responsibilities without impacting someone’s ability to qualify for the state pension.

Someone’s income, savings or investments will not impact their eligibility for Carer’s Credit.

Claimants of the benefit must be over 16 or over but under the state pension age, which is 66.

It is possible to still claim Carer’s Credit if someone decides to have breaks from looking after a person, but only up to 12 weeks in a row.

People can still get the benefit for 12 weeks even if they go on a short holiday or have to go to hospital.

However, to claim this support, the person the claimant is caring for must be in receipt of at least one qualifying benefit payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

These benefits include:

Olivia Kennedy, a financial planner at Quilter, has previously urged carers to apply for Carer’s Credit to make sure they access all the support they could be entitled to.

Ms Kennedy explained: “Carers play an essential role in propping up this country and it is only right that they at the very least receive a pension credit in return.

“But, despite the pandemic increasing the amount of people requiring care, the number of people applying for the credit continues to lag pre-pandemic levels.

“Unfortunately, many people fail to see themselves as carers and fail to apply for Carer’s Credit.

“Failing to do so can have a disastrous impact on someone’s financial wellbeing as many people begin being a carer later on in life and might need the credits to get the full state pension.”

The financial expert cited recent Government announcements as another reason people should apply for the state pension boost.

She added: “The Government recently finally set out its long-awaited social care plan, which applies a £86,000 cap on care costs.

“However, the detail revealed that some lower income households will now need to meet almost all of that £86,000.

“Many people will try to prevent the need to dip into family savings by caring for loved ones themselves and it’s imperative that these people still look after their own financial wellbeing and claim these important credits.”


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