Thousands of carers across the UK are missing out on Carer's Credits that could boost their pension by hundreds of pounds a year. New government figures show that only one in twenty (five per cent) out of an eligible 200,000 have signed up.
The credit fills the gap in a carer’s national insurance record caused by the fact they have had to give up work or cut their hours. Without it, the carer risks missing out on the full State Pension of £115.95 a week when they retire. Signing up for the credit can particularly help older women. Women make up 130,000 - or 65% - of those who could be eligible. Two-thirds of those with caring responsibilities who could apply are estimated to be over 50 years old.
Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann is calling on carers to check they are getting what they are entitled to and urging people to spread the word to carers they may know.
Baroness Altmann said: “It is important to recognise how much carers give to society, and I would like to see them receive what they are entitled to. If carers are not working full-time, these credits can fill gaps in their National Insurance record – helping bolster the amount of state pension they will receive."
She added that: “It is straightforward to apply and doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing to lose by signing up and money to gain for the future.”
Carers UK, the charity which provides advice, information and support for people who care for a disabled, seriously ill or older loved one, is encouraging carers to seize any opportunity that eases their financial hardship.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “When people take on a caring role for a loved one, they can face serious financial hardship. Many carers see a steep drop in income if they have to leave work or reduce their hours to care; and this impact can intensify if the person being cared for also has to give up work because of their illness or disability. With less money coming in households simultaneously have to cope with a sharp rise in the additional costs that come with caring and disability.”
Are you a carer facing financial hardship?
If you are a carer, the ‘Carers’ section of the Turn2us website has information about ways you might be able to get help if you are struggling financially. This includes information on Carer's Credit.
You can also check your benefit entitlement using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator or find out whether you are eligible for charitable grant using our Turn2us Grants Search.
The Turn2us Your Situation online section contains resources such as managing money, including useful links and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.
Source: Carers UK press release: Carers UK responds to low take-up of Carers Credits