Unpaid carers at risk of losing access to full state pension – apply for carer’s credit

Care: Research shows a quarter of UK adults are carers

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Recently published research has revealed that just 4,759 people have claimed carer’s credits which counts toward state pension entitlement in 2021. Based on these figures, acquired by Quilter via a Freedom of Information Request, it is believed the final tally of carer’s credit claimants by the end of the year will be 5,568. This is just slightly ahead of the 5,221 recorded in 2020, but remains 13 percent lower than figures posted before the pandemic crisis.

Carer’s credit is awarded to claimants if they are looking after someone in need of support for at least 20 hours a week.

The benefit is a National Insurance credit that helps people fill in noticeable gaps in their National Insurance record.

This is important for many people as having 35 years worth of National Insurance contributions is needed to access the full state pension.

Accessing carer’s credit is not dependent on someone’s income, savings or prior investments. As long as someone meets the criteria as a carer, they are eligible.

The data recovered from Quilter is surprising as the Government estimates that 4.5 million additional people have become unpaid carers because of the pandemic.

As a result of this, millions of people will now be able to access the support provided by carer’s credit.

On top of this, 9.1 million unpaid carers are already in the midst of looking after loved ones prior to Covid, while also dealing with their own health and work issues.


Overall, only 20 percent of those who are eligible have claimed the credit with just 44,285 carers reaching out for benefits support.

Back in 2015, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimated that over 200,000 unpaid carers would be eligible for assistance.

Of this group, it was believed women would make up the majority. It is likely the number of people able to apply for carer’s credit only increased between 2015 and March 2020, before the pandemic led to exponential rise in carers.

Olivia Kennedy, a Financial Planner at Quilter, outlined why carers should take advantage of this support from the Government, citing their important contribution to the economy.

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 carers 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.”

Specifically, the financial expert referenced the Government’s proposed social care cap which sets a lifetime limit on how much people will need to pay towards their costs.

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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