To qualify for the full new state pension, recipients must be of pension age and have 35 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt. These contributions are acquired by being in the workforce but unpaid carers are more likely to have gaps in their record. While many can apply for benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, there are other ways unpaid carers can fill in these gaps.
Specifically, this can be done by getting Carer’s Credit, which is available for people who look after someone at least 20 hours a week.
Through this particular benefit, unpaid carers get assistance with gaps in their National Insurance record.
With Carer’s Credit, those who are eligible can continue with their caring responsibilities without being worried how it will affect their state pension payments.
Notably, a carer’s income, savings or investments does not impact their eligibility for Carer’s Credit.
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To get this support, recipients must be 16 or over but under the state pension age, which is currently 66.
Anyone who chooses to have a break from their caring responsibilities can still get Carer’s Credit but only up to 12 weeks in a row.
Claimants can still be eligible for the benefit for 12 weeks even if they go on a short holiday or have to go to hospital.
While unpaid carers can still get Carer’s Allowance via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and Carer’s Allowance Supplement in Scotland, Carer’s Credit helps secure them their state pension entitlement.
Olivia Kennedy, a financial planner at Quilter, previously encouraged people to apply for the credit in order to get what they deserve.
She 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.
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“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 UK is currently in the midst of a cost of living crisis which is being partially caused by rising inflation and energy bills
Gas and electricity costs have increased by 27 percent on average for households of typical usage, while inflation is sitting at 10.7 percent.
One of the groups most affected by this economic turmoil are unpaid carers who have less reliant income and not as secure a retirement as most other people.
Louise Yasities, an elderly care expert at TakingCare Personal Alarms, discussed the plight of carers in this environment.
She said: “Unfortunately, the reality is that there is little financial support for those caring for an elderly loved one, so it’s also worth researching the support available for your parents or relatives.
“You can get at-home support through a needs assessment from your local authority which can help develop a personalised care package.
“Caring for an older relative, particularly a parent, can be an extremely overwhelming and emotional experience, particularly when it comes to managing finances.”