Last year, only 4,759 people claimed Carer’s Credit as of November 2021, according to research carried out by Quilter. The financial firm estimates that just 5,568 people claimed the support by the end of 2021 despite the Government confirming that 4.5 million individuals became unpaid carers during the pandemic. Around 20 percent of the eligible population have claimed the support while the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates that 200,000 people are eligible for Carer’s Credit.
Carer’s Credit is a means of support for people who may not be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, the primary benefit for unpaid carers.
Someone can be eligible for Carer’s Credit if they look after someone for at least 20 hours a week.
The benefit is a National Insurance credit that helps people fill in the gaps within their National Insurance record.
This is crucial to claiming the full state pension from the Government as someone’s entitlement is based on their National Insurance record.
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Those looking to boost their state pension payments will not need to worry about previous savings, investments or income as they will not affect a person’s eligibility for credits.
Missing out on one annual credit a year could cost an unpaid carer 1/35th of the value of the state pension.
It’s possible to check one’s National Insurance record online, via the Gov.uk website
Unlike other benefits, certain groups of people do not need to apply for Carer’s Credits if they are in receipt of other support.
Claimants of Carer’s Allowance will automatically get credits from the Government which will go towards their state pension.
Furthermore, those in receipt of Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12 will also automatically get credits.
It should be noted that anyone who is a foster carer should instead apply for National Insurance credits.
Olivia Kennedy, a financial planner at Quilter, emphasised the issue of people not recognising the work they do as unpaid carers which leads to them not applying for support.
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Ms Kennedy said: “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 Carer’s Credit.”
The financial expert referenced the Government’s recent social care plans which are set to benefit households with unpaid carers, explaining she believes it will not do enough to assist low income households.
She added: “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 Government recently finally set out its long-awaited social care plan, which applies a £86,000 cap on care costs.
“However, the detail revealed that some lower income households will now need to meet almost all of that £86,000.
“Many people will try to prevent the need to dip into family savings by caring for loved ones themselves and it’s imperative that these people still look after their own financial wellbeing and claim these important credits.”