Carer’s Credit: Millions missing vital state pension payment boost – ‘Disastrous impact!’ | Personal Finance | Finance
The latest data from the 2021 Census has shown around five million people in the UK from age five onwards are unpaid carers. Notably, data from that same year showed that only a few thousand unpaid carers claim Carer’s Credit, a useful benefit which can boost someone’s state pension entitlement.While benefit support is available through the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Carer’s Allowance, this group is at risk of missing out on their full retirement payment.
Figures from the Census highlighted the proportion of people who provided 20 to 49 hours of unpaid care a week rose from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 1.9 percent in 2021.
Unpaid carers who provided 50 or more hours of support a week jumped slightly from 2.7 percent in 2011 to 2.8 percent in 2021.
Carer’s Allowance is one of the most popular benefits available, which offers claimants an extra £69.70 a week to help boost their income.
However, it turns out many unpaid carers are unaware they can increase their state pension payments at the same time.
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What is Carer’s Credit?
People who do not get Carer’s Allowance payments but do look after someone can also claim Carer’s Credits.
This benefit is National Insurance credits that help fill in the gaps in someone’s National Insurance record.
A person’s National Insurance record ultimately determines how much an individual gets in state pension payments.
Claimants are eligible for Carer’s Credit if they are looking after someone for at least 20 hours a week.
Many unpaid carers need this state pension boost as they are out of the job work for extended periods of time and are unable to accumulate National Insurance credits.
Despite this support being available, recent figures suggest only 5,646 unpaid carers claim these vital credits.
Rachael Griffin, a tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, shared why not receiving this benefit will have a “disastrous impact” for an already financially vulnerable demographic.
She explained: “A Freedom of Information request found that in 2021 just 5,646 people claimed carer’s credits, which is lower than the figure pre-pandemic.
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“In 2015, the DWP estimated around 200,000 carers are eligible, with women making up a substantial proportion.
“It is expected this number has increased since 2015 so it is worth exploring if you think you might be eligible.
“Unfortunately, many people fail to see themselves as carers and fail to apply for benefits provided by the government. Failing to do so can have a disastrous impact on someone’s financial wellbeing.
“For example, as many people begin being a carer later on in life they may need the credits to get the full state pension and failing to claim can mean they get less money in retirement.
The finance expert highlighted recent announcements from the Government which will also impact unpaid carers, including an expansion of crucial funding.
Ms Griffin added: “Despite the social care system in UK struggling under significant strain, during the Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, announced a two-year delay to the adult social care charging reforms, including the £86,000 cap on care costs, which are now due to come into force in October 2025, beyond the next election.
“One positive is that instead of retaining the funding allocated for the reforms in the Treasury, Hunt said it would still go to councils, with £1.3billion available in 2023-24 and £1.9billion in 2024-25 to spend on adults’ and children’s social care.”