Find out what Carer’s Credit is and how it could help you save for your pension if you are not earning or on a low income. We can help you find out if you’re entitled to this benefit.
By claiming Carer’s Credit, you can protect your National Insurance record which contributes to your State Pension. Carer’s Credit can be helpful if you’re not receiving Carer’s Allowance or if you’re not earning anything or taking a break from caring. You could also claim it if the person you care for does not receive particular benefits which would otherwise help cover your record.
What is Carer's Credit?
You do not get paid any extra money if you claim Carer’s Credit. However this benefit helps to protect your pension rights. It is very useful if you are caring for someone but not paying National Insurance (NI) contributions through paid work and if you are unable to claim Carer's Allowance.
If you claim Carer's Credit, rather than receiving a payment, you get a NI contribution credit to help protect your record.
Frequently asked questions
If you already receive Carer's Allowance, you do not need to claim Carer's Credit as your pension is already protected. For each week that you receive Carer’s Allowance, you get a Class 1 NI credit to help protect your record. Over time, this will help to build up your pension.
You could benefit from Carer's Credit if you are in one of these situations:
- you care for one or more people for 20 hours or more a week but miss out on Carer's Allowance because you don't care for any one of them for 35 hours or more a week*
- where there is more than one of you caring for someone, and someone else is getting the Carer's Allowance for that person
- you care for someone who can't or refuses to claim disability benefits, or if the disability benefits of the person you are caring for have stopped due to them being in hospital or residential care
- you are within 12 weeks of claiming Carer's Allowance and/or within 12 weeks of your claim for Carer's Allowance stopping.
The person you are looking after must normally be getting one of the following:
- the middle or the higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (at either rate)
- Attendance Allowance (at either rate) or Constant Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
If the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these benefits, you may still be able to claim Carer’s Credit. When you apply, fill in the Care Certificate part of the application form and ask a health or social care professional to sign it.
*As mentioned, to claim Carer’s Credit you need to be looking after someone for a total of 20 hours or more a week, but see below for the rules on breaks in care.
In England, Wales and Scotland
You can download a claim form online or you can contact the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (textphone: 0800 731 0317 ) and ask them to send you a claim form. Or you can download this form.
In Northern Ireland
You can download a claim form online or you can contact the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 028 9031 1092) and ask them to send you a claim form.
Your Carer's Credit application must normally be received before the end of the tax year following the tax year to which the credits relate, although this time limit can sometimes be extended if it is considered reasonable.
See 'How to claim Carer's Credit' below for more details.
Carer’s Credit can also help with breaks in your caring role. You can claim Carer’s Credit for any week within 12 weeks before the date you become entitled to Carer’s Allowance or following the week you stop being entitled to Carer’s Allowance. This is without meeting the 20-hour condition. This means you could have a break in caring for up to 12 weeks without losing your NI contribution credit.
Sue cares for her brother Alfred. Alfred receives Attendance Allowance and Sue claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after him. Alfred goes into hospital and his Attendance Allowance stops after 28 days. This means that Sue’s Carer’s Allowance will also stop after 28 days. Sue can claim Carer’s Credit for up to 12 weeks after her Carer’s Allowance stops.
If your circumstances change, for example you enter paid employment or move home, your eligibility for claiming Carer’s Credit may be affected.
Rather than working this out for yourself, it is important to report any changes as soon as possible.
In England, Wales or Scotland, notify the Carer’s Allowance Unit.
In Northern Ireland, notify the Disability and Carers Service.
How to claim Carer's Credit
Contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit (England, Scotland or Wales) or the Disability and Carers Service (Northern Ireland) if the following applies:
- you look after someone for at least 20 hours a week
- the person you’re looking after receives one of the disability benefits mentioned above.
If they don’t receive one of these benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit. Fill in the Care Certificate part of the application form and make sure a health or social care professional signs it.
Carer’s Credit can also be useful for taking breaks from caring (if you’re on holiday or staying in hospital and your Carer’s Allowance stops – read more). It can mean you don’t lose your National Insurance contribution for your State Pension if you have a break for up to 12 weeks. If your break is longer than 12 weeks, notify the Carer’s Allowance Unit (in England, Wales or Scotland) or the Carers and Disability Service (in Northern Ireland).