State pension: Grandparents urged to make simple check – are you missing out on hundreds?

Grandparents who look after grandchildren whose parents have returned to work are being urged to check whether they qualify for help with their state pension. Royal London has issued the reminder, insisting “too many” are missing out on a way to boost income during retirement.


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Specified Adult Childcare credits may be claimed by grandparents or another family member who cares for a child under the age of 12.

This is usually when the parent or main carer is working.

With this person being in work, it is likely they would be paying National Insurance contributions, hence may not need the credit that comes with Child Benefit.

As such, they can instead sign over the credit to the family caring for the child, at no extra cost to themselves.

The credits are available from April 2011, however they’re not paid automatically.

Instead, the carer would need to claim the credits.

The rules changed earlier this year, as the UK lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic impacted many people’s normal caring arrangements.

As such, since March 2020, those who have provided care in a different way – such as over the telephone or via video calling – can still apply for NI credits for the 2019 to 2020 and the 2020 to 2021 financial years.

With the amount of state pension a person gets being dependent on one’s National Insurance record, it may be that these credits can provide a boost to a person’s state pension income by hundreds of pounds each year.

However, there are concerns that some people may be eligible for the credits, but are not claiming them.

Figures obtained by the mutual insurer under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act show that more than 15,000 applications were approved between October 2018 and September 2019.

In comparison, 10,000 applications were approved over the same period in 2017/18 and an 11-fold increase from when the first FOI request was issued in 2015/16.


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However, according to Royal London, this is still likely to only be a small fraction of the numbers of people who could benefit.

The claims can be backdated to when the scheme first launched back in 2011.

These credits are added to the National Insurance record of the claimant, which can help them to build up a full state pension.

The FOI was tabled by Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London.

She said: “Grandparents have long carried out a vital service in taking care of grandchildren whose parents return to work and it is positive that this benefit exists to ensure those under state pension age do not miss out on National Insurance credits.

“However, while it is really positive to see such growth in the number of applications we are still only scratching the surface when it comes to the numbers of people who stand to benefit.

“The government’s recent clarification that those providing care via telephone or video is also welcome and will really help people plug gaps in their National Insurance record.

“We urge those caring for children under the age of 12 to check to see if they can claim.”

A year of National Insurance credits can be worth 1/35th of a full pension – due to 35 years of contributions being needed for the full state pension.

The full new state pension for 2020/21 is currently £9,110.40 per year, and 1/35 of this is around £260.

As a result, this means that a person who claims these credits for a year could get an extra £260 via their state pension each year – which works out at around £5,200 in total over the course of a typical 20 year retirement.

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