Find out if you're eligible for Carer's Credit, how you can claim it and how it could affect your State Pension.
What is Carer's Credit?
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit towards your State Pension when you're unable to make contributions yourself because you're caring for someone else.
Your National Insurance record determines if you’ve worked enough to earn the State Pension.
Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions estimates around 200,000 carers are eligible to claim Carer’s Credit, but only 17,388 actually did at the end of 2018, according to a Freedom of Information request by Quilter.
Am I eligible for Carer’s Credit?
First, we need to figure out if you’re actually eligible to claim.
To get Carer’s Credit, you must be aged between 16 and State Pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week.
The person you're caring for must receive one of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance (care component at the middle or highest rate);
- Attendance Allowance;
- Constant Attendance Allowance;
- Personal Independence Payment (the daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate);
- Armed Forces Independence Payment.
You may still be able to get Carer’s Credit even if the person you're caring for doesn't get one of the above benefits.
When you apply, fill in the 'Care Certificate' part of the application form and ask a health or social care professional to sign it.
You’re still eligible for Carer’s Credit if you take breaks from caring (for up to 12 weeks in a row), including taking a holiday, or if you or the person you’re caring for goes into hospital.
There’s one strange feature of this benefit: two people who fit the bill for Carer’s Credit can still be eligible by caring for each other.
What the difference between Carer’s Credit and Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is worth £66.15 a week for 2019/20. There's also a one-off tax-free £10 payment around Christmas.
You’ll get the main allowance of £66.15 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week, even if you aren’t related to them or live with them.
Carer’s Credit is different as it’s a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record.
If you’re eligible and receive Carer’s Allowance, you’ll automatically get National Insurance credits, so you won’t need to also apply for Carer's Credit.
To learn more about the Carer's Allowance and how it works, take a look at this guide.
If you don’t get Carer’s Allowance but you do care for someone, it’s worth applying for Carer’s Credit.
It’s just a case of filling out an application. Download a form or ring up 0800 731 0297 to get one.
Once it’s complete, post it to the Carer's Allowance Unit:
Carer's Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
Your application must be received before the end of the tax year following the tax year to which the credits are for.
For example, a claim for the 2019/2020 tax year must be made by April 2021.
You can backdate it to the start of the previous tax year, even if the person you were caring for has died or no longer needs care. Your best bet to claim this is to get in touch with the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297.
What other help is out there?
As part of the Care Act 2014, carers have a right to request a ‘carer’s assessment’ from their local authority.
The assessment is carried out by a professional from your local council who will work out how being a carer affects your life and how it can make things a little easier for you.
For more support, carers in England can call the NHS Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 (open between 9am and 8pm Monday-Friday, and from 11am to 4pm at weekends).
Alternatively, Carers UK has a free advice line on 0808 808 7777 (open Mondays and Tuesdays between 10am and 4pm).
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