Martin Lewis has told carers how they can claim thousands towards their pension and could be missing out on money.
The Money Saving Expert has shared how carers can use credit to top up their pension in national insurance credits to help fill in gaps on your National Insurance record.
Carer’s credit is available if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week. It’s important because how much you eventually get – if anything – from the state pension is based on your national insurance record.
Responding to a question from a reader during the phone-in on This Morning, Martin said: “If you’re caring over 20 hours a week, and you’re not working, you get credits as if you were working.
“When you get to retirement, it boosts what state pension you get.
“Missing out on it can cost you tens of thousands of pounds over the years of your state pension”
The carer’s credit is different to the carer’s allowance, which is for those who care for someone on certain benefits for at least 35 hours a week.
If you do, you can get paid £67.60 a week, which is worth £3,515.20 a year.
For each week you get carer’s allowance, you’ll also automatically get national insurance credits, reports the Sun.
The This Morning viewer asked Martin for help after she was told she wouldn’t receive the full state pension as she didn’t claim the credits the whole time, even though she was entitled to them.
She asked whether she could backdate the claim to get more national insurance credits to boost her pension.
Martin explained that you can generally only backdate a carer’s credit claim one tax year, while carer’s allowance can be backdated three months.
However, there are “exceptional circumstances” so it’s worth making a claim anyway and explain your situation.
You can also claim even if the person you were caring for has since died or no longer needs caring for.
Martin added: “Carer’s credit is massively underclaimed.
“If you know carers out there, ask them: ‘have you checked if you’re entitled to carer’s credit?'”
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “Not everyone who can claim these credits does, but that does not mean they are missing out – there are many ways by which people can build their National Insurance records and therefore some may not need them.”