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Are you caring for an elderly relative, parent, partner, another adult or a disabled child over 12 years old? Are you in need of more financial support? And do you want the work you're doing to reflect the amount in your pension pot? Many carers do not realise that they are entitled to Carer's Credit, which not only eases the strain of caring for a loved one, but may also help to boost your State Pension.
In this day and age, even though we are surrounded by a myriad of resources, information doesn't always get to the right people. The DWP estimates that nearly 200,000 people are eligible for Carer's Credit, but only 9,000 actually receive it - an alarming statistic to say the least.
As long as you are caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week, no matter whether you are working part-time or not at all, you may be one of the eligible ones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 70% of recipients who currently receive Carer's Credit are women over 50.
According to this system, for each year that you are caring for someone for more than 20 hours per week, you may be able to boost your State Pension by £200 a year when you reach your pension age. So if you're a carer for five years, as an example, your State Pension may well increase by £1000 a year.
The credit helps to fill the gaps in your National Insurance record, but works differently to Carer's Allowance, a system available to those who assume carer duties for 35 hours or more per week.
Applying for Carer's Credit is easy, but you can also double check if you're eligible by going here, where you can also find more information on Carer's Credit and what you can get from it. Once you have done that, fill in an application form available from the GOV.UK website (the National Insurance application form can also be found here if you're providing childcare for a child under the age of 12), but you may need a health or social care professional to sign it for you.