DWP figures show 97% of eligible carers do not claim carer’s credit
January 10th, 2018
Carer’s credit – the government scheme intended to help carers of disabled people build better state pension entitlements – has failed to reach 97% of its target group, according to Royal London.
In reply to a Freedom of Information request made by the mutual insurer, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) said 3,524 people claimed the National Insurance credit in 2016/17 while, in the current tax year up to 21 December, 2,709 people had done so.
When the scheme was introduced in 2010, the DWP had estimated some 160,000 carers – 110,000 women and 50,000 men – could benefit.
Along with the charity Carers UK, Royal London has called on the government to adopt a more proactive approach to making sure carers take up their rights.
Royal London director of policy Steve Webb said: “We estimate the credits would add £237 per year to a carer’s state pension – or more than £4,700 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement. Assuming more than 155,000 carers a year are missing out, this creates a total loss in excess of £700m.”
The government introduced the system of National Insurance credits in 2010 with a view to bridging gaps in National Insurance records. It was targeted on carers who were spending at least 20 hours caring – thereby affecting their ability to earn enough to pay National Insurance – but who were not entitled to the Carers Allowance for those doing 35 hours per week of caring, and which brings automatic credits for National Insurance.
“These schemes are introduced with the best of intentions but they become no more than window-dressing if virtually nobody actually takes them up,” said Webb.
“Governments cannot simply hope people find the information on official websites or rely on the occasional ministerial press release. It is time for proactive communications with those who are meant to benefit so that far more people receive the help to which they are entitled.”
Source: Professional Adviser