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Nine in ten state carers miss out on state pension top-up

Sam Barker
Carer's Credit has been running since 2009, but take-up is low - REUTERS

Thousands of carers are hurting their retirement incomes by not claiming a Government boost to their state pensions.

Not working while caring for someone who is sick or infirm leaves gaps in National Insurance payments, hitting your state pension.

In 2010 the Government launched Carer’s Credit to fill the gap.

However, more than 90pc of those eligible for the credit in 2018 did not claim it, according to a Freedom of Information request by Quilter, the wealth adviser.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates around 200,000 carers are eligible for the credit, but only 17,388 claimed it last year.

Jon Greer, of Quilter, said: “Unpaid carers save the UK £132bn a year. But they sometimes don’t even see themselves as carers or the extent of the sacrifice they are making.”

To receive Carer’s Credit you must be between 16 and state pension age and look after at least one person for a minimum of 20 hours a week.

If the person you care for does not receive a benefit such as disability living allowance, you need a note from a health or social care professional.

If you claim Carer’s Allowance, a separate payment, you will get the credit as well, which could boost your state pension by £244 a year.

Claims for the credit can be backdated for one year.

Helen Walker, of Carers UK, a charity, said: “We know that caring unpaid for a loved one can have a big impact on finances over time, so it’s important carers get the financial support they’re entitled to at the earliest opportunity.”

Three in five carers in England and Wales are aged 50 years and over, according to a report published by the Office for National Statistics last week. 

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