Press release

Pensions Minister: too many carers missing out on NI credits

Nearly 200,000 carers could boost their future State Pension simply by signing up for Carer's Credit.


Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann, is calling on all carers to check they are getting what they are entitled to – and urging everybody to spread the word to carers they may know.

Nearly 200,000 people with caring responsibilities could receive a boost to their pension – worth hundreds of pounds a year – by claiming Carer’s Credit. But currently only an estimated 5% of those eligible are signed up to receive these additional National Insurance contributions.

Signing up for Carer’s Credit for a year means a carer could receive over £200 extra per year in State Pension when they retire.

Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann, said:

It is important to recognise how much carers give to society, and I would like to see them receive what they’re entitled to.

If carers are not working full time, these credits can fill gaps in their National Insurance record – helping to bolster the amount of State Pension they will receive.

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. I’d like people to spread the word about this because I don’t want to see anyone missing out.

Currently only 11,000 people have signed up for the credit, which contributes to their National Insurance record, yet around 200,000 are thought to be eligible. It is designed for those who are caring for others for 20 hours or more per week and do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

The credit helps carers to continue to build the amount of State Pension they will receive – so they can protect their future State Pension, while carrying out their caring responsibilities.

Signing up for this credit can particularly help older women. Women make up 130,000 – or 65% – of those who could be eligible, and two-thirds of those with caring responsibilities who could apply are estimated to be over age 50.

Find information on eligibility and how to apply for Carer’s Credit.

More about Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Allowance is available to those who care for 35 hours a week or more, subject to eligibility, whereas Carer’s Credit is for those who care for at least 20 hours a week.

According to the 2012/13 Family Resource Survey, there are 330,000 working-age people who provide informal care for between 20 and 35 hours per week.

Approximately 40% of the 330,000 are in full time employment, so are already likely to be paying National Insurance contributions – which leaves 200,000 potential beneficiaries of Carer’s Credit.

Out of that 200,000, we expect 70,000 to be male, 130,000 to be female – with around two-thirds to be aged 50 or over. Many may also be accruing qualifying years through other means such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Child Benefit credits, so the number of eligible people could be lower.

Seventy per cent of existing recipients of Carers’ Credit are women.

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Published 10 August 2015