State Pension alert: 160,000 Britons failing to get vital credits – do you have a claim?

Upcoming changes to state pension in 2022

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Anyone above the age of 16 and below the state pension age can claim Carer’s Credit if they look after someone for at least 20 hours a week. Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit, which assists in filling out gaps in an individual’s National Insurance record. Currently, the state pension stands at £179.60 per week, however the amount someone can receive depends on other factors.

Upon their retirement, a taxpayer’s state pension is based on their prior National Insurance record, which is why Carer’s Credit can be a crucial financial boost to many retirees.

A person’s previous income, savings or investments does not affect their eligibility for Carer’s Credit.

According to a Freedom of Information request, brought forward by investment firm Quilter, only 5,209 people claimed carer’s credit in 2020.

This represents a stark drop from the 6,489 British people who claimed the credit back in 2019.

READ MORE: State pension dismay as 500,000 miss out on boost

On top of this, the number of people in the UK who became unpaid carers during the pandemic has increased exponentially.

A survey commissioned by six charities, supported by Carers Week, found the number of unpaid carers had risen by an estimated 4.5million to 13.6million in June 2020.

In 2015, the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) estimated that around 200,000 carers were eligible for Carer’s Credit, the vast majority being women.

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It is believed this number has risen once again over the last five years, but no official figures have been published as of yet to confirm this.

As 40,673 carers have claimed the credit as of 2010, this means only 20 percent of those eligible have claimed the state pension booster.

Quilter estimates that every annual credit missed could cost retirees around 1/35th of the value of the state pension.

Olivia Kennedy, financial planner at Quilter, believes Britons should be aware of any financial help which could increase their pension pots, especially after the pandemic.

“In this unprecedented year it is inevitable that we will have seen a dramatic increase in the already sizable unpaid carer population,” she explained.

“Throughout the pandemic they have continued to prop up support services. However, these people sometimes don’t even recognise themselves as carers or the extent of the sacrifice they are making.

“Thinking of their own long-term financial wellbeing is crucial and the state pension is a big part of that, particularly as it’s money they rightfully deserve.”

How to claim Carer’s Credit

Certain groups of people will automatically have access to the credit through other benefits.

Potential claimants do not need to apply for Carer’s Credit if they get Carer’s Allowance or if they receive Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12, as they should already have it.

Claimants who foster carer should instead apply for National Insurance credits instead of Carer’s Credit.

To apply for the credit, applicants should download and fill out the Carer’s Credit claim form, which includes a Care Certificate. A health or social care professional will have to sign this form before it’s sent off.

If someone’s application is rejected, it is possible to challenge the decision as part of a mandatory reconsideration.

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