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Protecting your State Pension as a carer


If you’re not paying National Insurance due to your caring responsibilities, you may qualify for National Insurance credits instead. These credits help fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record so that your caring role doesn’t affect your ability to qualify for the State Pension when you reach pension age.

If you are on Carer’s Allowance you get Class 1 credits automatically. Class 1 credits count towards your State Pension and can help you to qualify for other contribution-based benefits such as new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If you are on Income Support, Universal Credit or are registered for Child Benefit for a child under 12 – even if you don’t get a payment due to the income limits - you get Class 3 credits automatically. Class 3 credits only count towards your State Pension.

If you are a carer but are not on one of these benefits you may qualify for Carer’s Credit to get Class 3 credits.

You can check your National Insurance record on the GOV.UK website to see what you’ve contributed so far, credits you’ve received and if there are any years that won’t count towards your State Pension due to gaps in contributions or credits.

To get Carer’s Credit you need to be aged between 16 years old and state pension age and be caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week who receives one of the following disability benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance.
  • Personal Independence Payment - daily living component, at the standard or enhanced rate.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.
  • Child Disability Payment (Scotland) higher or middle rate care component
  • Adult Disability Payment (Scotland) standard or enhanced daily living component

You can still make a claim for Carer’s Credit if the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these disability benefits. In this situation you will need to fill in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application pack and get a health or social care professional to sign it.

Your income and savings are ignored when making a claim for Carer’s Credit.

If you have any breaks from caring while receiving Carer’s Credit, such as for a holiday or hospital stay, or the person you care for goes into hospital, you remain eligible for Carer’s Credit as long as the break doesn’t last longer than 12 weeks.

You only need to claim Carer’s Credit if you are not already getting credits or contributions paid.

You can download a Carer’s Credit claim form to print off and fill in from the GOV.UK Carer's Credit webpage.

You can also get a claim form by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. For other methods of contact see the GOV.UK Carer’s Allowance Unit contact details.

Online Help and Advice

Visit our online support section where we have provided advice and guidance on a range of relevant topics to help you in your caring role.

Online support
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