What is Carer's Credit?
Carer's Credit is a class three National Insurance credit - not a payment. As unpaid carers we may find ourselves unable to work as much. And be unable to contribute to National Insurance payments, which count towards things like our state pension.
Carer’s Credit helps us protect these benefits by ensuring there are no gaps in our National Insurance record.
Carer’s Credits (introduced in 2010), were initially intended to address women’s poor State Pension outcomes. As (along with other reasons) many women were missing out on making National Insurance contributions.
It “fills the gap” between working and caring, in that it is claimable by those of us who provide care for less than 35 hours per week (at which point Carer’s Allowance could be claimed), but more than 20 hours per week. And can be claimed by those of us who are working (to whatever degree). The key criteria for claiming are the hours of care and the disability of the person cared for.
If we’re eligible for Carer’s Credit, we’ll be credited with a Class 3 National Insurance credit for every qualifying week. If we are not, it's worth checking what other help is available with the cost of caring.
Am I eligible for Carer's Credit?
Carer’s Credit is for those of us caring for someone else, for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The caring hours may be made up of caring for multiple people.
We may be eligible for Carer’s Credit if we are:
Caring for someone (or several people) for at least 20 hours a week
Over 16, but not receiving a state pension
The person we care for is in receipt of an eligible benefit:
The Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
Personal Independence Payment - the daily living component, at the standard or enhanced rate
Armed Forces Independence Payment
If the person we are caring for is not receiving an eligible benefit, then we can apply by completing a Care Certificate.
We know some carers struggle to convince the person they care for to apply for one of the qualifying benefits. This can be the case, when caring for someone with a mental health condition, for example. In these situations, the Care Certificate may still allow us to receive contributions to our National Insurance record.
If we receive Carer's Allowance, are a foster carer or we receive Child Benefit for a child under 12 years of age, then we’ll already be receiving National Insurance Credits. Meaning we don’t have to apply for Carer's Credit.
That said, it may still be worth applying in certain situations.
For example, if we’re caring for a disabled child under 12 and receiving Child Benefit, then the National Insurance Credit would cease when the child turns 12 years of age.
If we are caring for 35 hours or more per week, we may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
Should I claim Carer’s Credit?
If we meet the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Credit, then we can make a claim. However, in some situations we may not need to make the claim, as our National Insurance contribution (for State Pension) may already be covered.
We don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit if the following is in play:
We’re a foster parent
We’re receiving child benefit for a child under 12 (but note that the National Insurance credits stop when they reach 12 years old)
We receive Carers’ Allowance
In the above examples, we’re already receiving National insurance contributions to our State Pension, so there is no need to apply for Carer’s Credit.
That said, there may be exceptions, such as the below example:
For example, a mother is caring for her 8-year-old disabled child 24 hours per week. Working for £150 per week and claiming child benefit for the child. She would have:
Class 1 coverage through employed earnings above the Lower Earnings’ Limit (Class 1 helps towards the entitlement criteria for certain Working Age Benefits)
Class 3 coverage from the claim to Child Benefit for a child aged under 12 (Class 3 protects the claimant’s National Insurance record in respect of their State Pension only)
In theory, they could claim Carer’s Credit, but wouldn’t need to, as their National Insurance credits are already covered by the Child Benefit.
It may still be worth claiming in the example above. For example, if their level of work fluctuates (above / below the Lower Earnings Limit) they may lose weeks of Class 1 coverage and, when their child turns 12, the credit associated with the claim to Child Benefit would cease.
Let’s make sure we’re plugging any gaps!
What is a Care Certificate for Carer’s Credit?
A health or social care professional can use the form to confirm that the care you provide is needed.
How much is Carer’s Credit?
As Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit, there is no money changing hands. The credit is recorded on our National Insurance record. And can count towards our State Pension when we reach State Pension age.
How do I apply for Carer’s Credit?
In terms of timescales, it’s recommended that we apply before the end of the tax year, following the tax year we cared for someone. However, there is flexibility in the legislation. If a reasonable explanation of a late application is provided, crediting can go back further.
Breaks in caring of up to 12 weeks can also be accommodated without needing to end the claim. And as it’s claimed “in arrears”, changes in ongoing circumstances do not need to be reported (they form part of the next application).
If eligible, we can use the Carer’s Credit application form available online. We then send the completed form to:
Carers Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
If we need an accessible version of the form (including Braille, large print, British sign language, audio or something else), we can call the freephone number:
0800 731 0297
Is Carer’s Credit means tested?
No, Carer’s Credit is not means tested.
Can Carer’s Credit be backdated?
Yes, Carer’s Credit can be backdated to the start of the previous tax year. We can claim it retrospectively, even if the person we were caring for no longer has care needs or has passed away.
For advice on this, it is best to give the Carer’s Allowance team a call on 0800 731 0297.
Carer’s Credit and working
Carer’s Credits are class three National Insurance credits towards benefits such as our state pension.
What is the difference between Carer’s Credit and Carer’s Allowance?
Carer's Credit is a class three National Insurance credit (not a payment), which we can apply for if we’re caring for more than 20 hours per week (but less than 35 hours a week, where we may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance).
Carer's Credit, Made Simple
Have you had to give up work or reduce your working hours to care for someone?
If you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week, and under the State Pension age, check out our Carer’s Credit tool to see if you’re eligible.
Carer’s Credit is a class three National Insurance credit that counts towards your state pension.