The state pension can only be claimed once a person reaches state pension age – something which is currently rising. The rules are complex when it comes to the state pension, but the amount a person can get is based on a person’s National Insurance record.
The Government website has a lengthy guide on the new state pension, which details the specific rules for valuing a person’s National Insurance contributions and credits made before April 6, 2016.
In brief though, it may be a person in this situation can get more or less than the full new state pension.
“You may get less than the new full state pension if you were contracted out before 6 April 2016,” GOV.UK states.
“You may get more than the new full state pension if you would have had over a certain amount of Additional State Pension under the old rules.”
Some people may have gaps on their National Insurance record.
There are various ways to fill these gaps in, and two options specifically apply to unpaid carers.
The first route involves claiming Carer’s Allowance.
This is a payment of £67.25 per week, and a person may be eligible to claim if they care for someone who receives certain benefits, and the care is for at least 35 hours per week.
Not all unpaid carers will be eligible, and it’s also important to be aware Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits the carer and the recipient of the care can get.
However, as well as the payment, other forms of support may be available for claimants.
This includes automatic National Insurance credits for each week the person gets Carer’s Allowance.
Kay Ingram, the Director of Public Policy at LEBC Group, addressed ways people can boost their state pension entitlement last year.
On Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit, she said: “If in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, a credit for NI contributions will automatically be available.
“Each year’s credit currently provides £260 per annum of State Pension. Telephone 0800 731 0297 or visit https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance.”
Ms Ingram also pointed out that another option is Carer’s Credit – something which a person could get if they care for someone for at least 20 hours per week.
“If ineligible for Carer’s Allowance you may still claim Carer’s Credits worth a NI credit for each year if you care for an adult for 20 hours per week or more and whose care needs meet the eligibility criteria,” she said.
Eligibility rules do apply though, and these can be found on the Government website.