New Carer’s Credit to protect State Pensions

Monday, 05 April 2010

The State Pension age for women will start to rise from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020 (to be equal with men). From 6 April 2010 there are also two significant changes that will really benefit carers:

Change to qualifying years

Only 30 years of NI contributions and/or credits will be needed to get a full basic State Pension for men and women instead of 39 and 44 qualifying years for women and men currently. This means that carers can have gaps in their NI record for some years and not get a reduced basic State Pension as a result (as long as they do not have less than 30 qualifying years in total).

New Carer's Credit

Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) will be replaced by weekly credits for parents and carers. Carers caring for a total of 20 hours per week or more will be able to apply for Carer's Credit to protect their State Pension – both the basic and State Second Pension. This will help in situations where carers currently struggle to get their State Pensions protected.

As a carer you could benefit if you are in one of these situations:

  • You care for 20 hours or more a week but miss out on Carer's Allowance because you don't care for 35 hours or more
  • You care for someone who can't or refuses to claim disability benefits
  • Where there is more than one of you caring for a disabled or ill person and someone else is getting the Carer's Allowance for that person
  • You look after several people but cannot claim Carer's Allowance because you do not care for any one of them for 35 hours
  • You are still providing a lot of care for someone who has gone into hospital or a care home, but cannot get Carer's Allowance because they don't get disability benefits because they have been in hospital or a care home.

The Government has introduced a new Carer's Credit to help carers in these situations. To claim it you need to be caring for one or more disabled person for a total of 20 hours or more a week where they get Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or the middle or highest rate of Disability Living Allowance care component; or you will need a medical or care professional to confirm that you are providing appropriate care for them.

If you think that this might be you, you can contact the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 or Textphone on 0845 604 5312