What is Carer’s Credit?
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit towards your State Pension when you’re unable to make contributions yourself because you’re caring for someone else.
Your National Insurance record determines if you’ve worked enough to earn the State Pension.
Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions estimate that up to 250,000 carers are eligible to claim Carer’s Credit, but only 20,000 actually do.
Am I eligible for Carer’s Credit?
First, we need to figure out if you’re actually eligible to claim.
To get Carer’s Credit, you must be aged between 16 and State Pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week.
The person you’re caring for must receive one of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance (care component at the middle or highest rate);
- Attendance Allowance;
- Constant Attendance Allowance;
- Personal Independence Payment (the daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate);
- The Armed Forces Independence Payment.
Don’t fret – you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit even if the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of the above benefits. When you apply, full in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application form and ask a health or social care professional to sign it.
You’re also still eligible if you take breaks from caring (for up to 12 weeks in a row) like taking a holiday, or if you or the person you’re caring for goes into hospital.
One strange feature of this benefit: two people who fit the bill for Carer’s Credit can still be eligible by caring for each other.
What the difference between Carer’s Credit and Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is worth up to £64.60 a week for 2018/19. You’ll get the allowance if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week even if you aren’t related to them or live with them.
If you’re eligible and receive Carer’s Allowance you’ll automatically get Carer’s Allowance Credit – which works in the same way as Carer’s Credit – so you won’t need to apply for that too.
To learn more about the Carer’s Allowance and how it works, take a look at this guide.
If you don’t get Carer’s Allowance but you do care for someone, it’s worth applying for Carer’s Credit.
It’s just a case of filling out an application. Download a form or ring up 0345 608 4321 to get one. Once it’s complete, post it to the Carer’s Allowance Unit:
Carer’s Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
Your application must be received before the end of the tax year following the tax year to which the credits are for. For example, a claim for the 2017/18 tax year must be made by 5 April 2019.
You can backdate it by as much as a year, even if the person you were caring for has died or no longer needs caring for.
Your best bet to claim this is to get in touch with the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321.
What other help is out there?
As part of the Care Act 2014, carers have a right to request a ‘carer’s assessment’ from their local authority. The assessment is carried out by a professional from your local council who will work out how being a carer affects your life and how it can make things a little easier for you.
For more support, carers in England can call the NHS Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 ( open 9am-8pm Monday- Friday, and from 11am-4pm at weekends. Alternatively, Carers UK has a free advice line on 0808 808 7777 (open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm).