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Carers at risk of losing valuable pension credits as claims drop 20% in 2020

Date: 12 April 2021

12 April 2021

A Freedom of Information request by Quilter reveals just 5,209 people claimed carer’s credit in 2020 which count toward state pension entitlement, a drop from 6,489 claims in 2019. 

This is despite the increasing number of people who became unpaid carers during the pandemic. In June last year figures showed the number of unpaid carers had increased by an estimated 4.5 million to 13.6 million, according to six charities supporting Carers Week.[1]

Only 20% of the approximate overall eligible population have claimed the credit to date as just 40,673 carers have claimed. In 2015 the Department for Work & Pensions estimated around 200,000 carers[2] are eligible, with women making up a substantial proportion. It is expected this number has increased since 2015. 

Year[3]

Number of Claims

2010

956

2011

1458

2012

1690

2013

2626

2014

2516

2015

3349

2016

4037

2017

5121

2018

6067

2019

6489

2020

5209

2021[4]

1155

Those who do not get a carer’s allowance but do care for someone may be eligible for carer’s credits that count towards a person’s state pension entitlement. You must be between 16 and state pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week. Anyone unsure whether they qualify can apply using the downloadable form from the DWP website.

Each annual credit missed could cost you 1/35th of the value of the state pension – around £260 per year or £5,200 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.

Olivia Kennedy, financial planner at Quilter says:

“In this unprecedented year it is inevitable that we will have seen a dramatic increase in the already sizable unpaid carer population. Throughout the pandemic they have continued to prop up support services. However, these people sometimes don’t even recognise themselves as carers or the extent of the sacrifice they are making. Thinking of their own long-term financial wellbeing is crucial and the state pension is a big part of that, particularly as it’s money they rightfully deserve.

“An update on the elusive Social Care White Paper is anticipated in the upcoming Queen’s Speech. This long-awaited policy reform needs to take into account the substantial work unpaid carers do and ensure they are getting all the resources and support they deserve as a result.”

 

[1] Covid-19 pandemic: 4.5 million become unpaid carers in a matter of weeks (carersweek.org)

[2] Pensions Minister: too many carers missing out on NI credits - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[3] Freedom of Information request to the Department of Work & Pension

[4] The number for 2021 is for up until 14/3/2021

Tim Skelton-Smith

Tim Skelton-Smith

Head of External Communications