The number of people claiming Carer’s Credits, which count toward state pension entitlement, has surged by 84 per cent this year compared to the same period in 2022.
Up to September 2023, 7,176 people have claimed Carer’s Credits, compared to just 3,906 from January to September last year, official statistics obtained via a Freedom of Information request show.
The number of claims so far this year is 11 per cent higher than the entirety of 2019 – a previous record year, when 6,481 people claimed the credits.
Modelling by financial adviser and wealth manager Quilter, who obtained the data, found that if claims continue at a similar pace, the number of claims could surpass 10,000 this year.
Claiming Carer's Credit could boost state pension entitlement
Rosie Hooper, chartered financial planner at Quilter said: “If you are fulfilling a caring role for a family member it can have a lasting effect on their finances, and particularly so for young carers.
“It is therefore heartening to see that more people this year than ever before are taking advantage of carer’s credits which reward carers for the crucial role they play in society.
“Unfortunately, the government continues to kick the can down the road when it comes to the social care crisis and both the Conservatives and Labour have been notably quiet during conference season about how they are going to fix the UK’s crumbling social care system.
“Until then unpaid carers have to shoulder this huge responsibility and its only right that they can get a pension credit at the very least in return.”
Carer’s Credits may be claimed by a person caring for someone who does not get Carer’s Allowance. These credits count towards the state pension entitlement, which may be helpful if a person is unable to make National Insurance contributions, such as due to caregiving.
To qualify, a person must be between 16 and state pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week.
People who are unsure whether they qualify can apply using the downloadable form from the DWP website.
As the amount of state pension a person gets is linked to one’s National Insurance record, those who aren’t making National Insurance contributions or claiming credits could end up with less in retirement.
For unpaid carers, each annual credit missed could cost a person 1/35th of the value of their state pension.
This is worth around £260 per year or £5,200 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.
According to the ONS, on Census Day 2021, there were approximately 4.7 million unpaid carers in England and approximately 310,000 unpaid carers in Wales.
Ms Hooper added: “One of the potential reasons why there has been such an uptick in the number of people claiming these credits might be to do with a concerted effort by pension providers and increased media reporting earlier this year surrounding people making voluntary national insurance contributions.
“These voluntary contributions help fill gaps in people’s records so they can claim the full state pension.
“This extra profile may have consequently also led people to realise that claiming these credits can be a very valuable thing to do that helps get the most from their state pension.
“While this uptick in the number of people claiming is positive there are still likely many more thousands of people eligible who have not applied and it’s important for people to check eligibility and apply if they can.”