A Freedom of Information request by Quilter, the financial adviser and wealth manager, reveals that up to September 2023 7,176 people have claimed carer’s credits, which count toward state pension entitlement, compared to just 3,906 during the same period in 2022.
Despite there still being four months of data yet to be released or collected in 2023, there has already been the highest number of claims on record this year.
The number of claims is 11% higher than the entirety of 2019, which was the previous highest when 6,481 people claimed carer’s credits.
The data also shows that there was a significant drop off in the number of claims made during the years of the pandemic which only started to recover in 2022.
In 2020 and 2021, 5,118 and 5,646 people respectively applied for carer’s credits compared to an average of 6,270 for the two years prior to the pandemic.
Quilter modelling shows that if claims continue at a similar pace the number of claims may be over 10,000 this year.
If you are caring for someone and do not get a carer’s allowance, you may be eligible for carer’s credits that count towards your 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 your state pension – around £260 per year or £5,200 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.
According to the ONS, on Census Day 2021 (21 March 2021) there were approximately 4.7 million unpaid carers in England and approximately 310,000 unpaid carers in Wales.
Rosie Hooper, chartered financial planner at Quilter says:
“If you are fulfilling a caring role for a family member it can have a lasting effect on their finances, and particularly so for young carers. It is therefore heartening to see that more people this year than ever before are taking advantage of carer’s credits which reward carers for the crucial role they play in society.
“Unfortunately, the government continues to kick the can down the road when it comes to the social care crisis and both the Conservatives and Labour have been notably quiet during conference season about how they are going to fix the UK’s crumbling social care system. Until then unpaid carers have to shoulder this huge responsibility and its only right that they can get a pension credit at the very least in return.
“One of the potential reasons why there has been such an uptick in the number of people claiming these credits might be to do with a concerted effort by pension providers and increased media reporting earlier this year surrounding people making voluntary national insurance contributions. These voluntary contributions help fill gaps in people’s records so they can claim the full state pension. This extra profile may have consequently also led people to realising that claiming these credits can be a very valuable thing to do that helps get the most from their state pension.
“While this uptick in the number of people claiming is positive there are still likely many more thousands of people eligible who have not applied and it’s important for anyone to check eligibility and apply if they can.”