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"Hidden carers" to have pensions boost from April

22 February 2010
For the first time, it will be possible for an unpaid carer looking after a loved one to build up a full basic State Pension based entirely on National Insurance credits.

February 22nd 2010

For the first time, it will be possible for an unpaid carer looking after a loved one to build up a full basic State Pension based entirely on National Insurance credits. The Department for Work and Pensions and Carers UK are calling on the 4.7 million carers across the country to find out if they could benefit.

April 2010 will see the introduction of the new Carer's Credit that will count towards their basic and second State Pension. People may not recognise the help they give unpaid to a disabled, ill or family member as caring but today they are being encouraged to come forward if they are looking after someone for at least twenty hours a week.

Minister of State for Pensions and Ageing Society Angela Eagle said: "We want people to tell us if they, or people they know, are looking after somebody for more than 20 hours a week so they benefit from this change. The State Pension is everyone's foundation of financial security in later life and therefore, it's only right that caring for others should be counted towards it."

The natural focus for most carers is to meet the immediate needs of their loved one rather than on planning their own financial future. Results by the Ipsos MORI survey found less than one in five of the carers (19%) pay regularly into savings and only one in seven felt they had a comfortable amount put aside for the future. It also revealed almost half (46%) the carers it questioned are worried about their financial future and just over a third (36%)have dipped into savings as a result of caring.

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: "We know saving for your retirement years won't be your priority when you suddenly find yourself caring for a loved one. But there are simple steps you can take to secure your State Pension that will protect your long-term future as you care for others."

If you are caring for someone for 20 hours or more a week you could get the new Carer's Credit that will count towards your State Pension. Find out if you qualify by visiting www.direct.gov.uk/pensions or by calling 0800 678 1132.

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