An estimated one million people have given up work to care for someone Footnote: 1 and Pensions Minister Steve Webb wants 'hidden' carers who could be eligible for Carer's Credit to benefit.
Steve Webb said: "It's natural that people caring for a loved one often forget about their own needs and thoughts about the future are pushed to one side. But this is a very simple way for carers to protect their State Pension and I urge people to find out more by visiting the Directgov website or by calling the Carer's Allowance Unit."
People giving up their time for 20 hours or more a week to provide unpaid care for a loved one, who are not already claiming Carer's Allowance, could qualify.
There are currently less than 1,000 people getting Carer's Credit. The Government and Carers UK are calling for people to help identify hidden carers and encourage more people to ensure they are claiming all they are entitled to.
Many people looking after an elderly parent, ill spouse or disabled child do not think of themselves as carers. In fact, according to research from Carers UK the majority of people who care for relatives take over a year to realize that they have become a carer Footnote: 2. But if you are giving up time to cook, clean, shop or provide personal care, unpaid, for someone you could be entitled to Carer's Credit.
Carers UK Chief Executive Imelda Redmond CBE, said:
"If you give up work to care for someone who is close to you who is ill or disabled, often the last thing on your mind is planning for your pension. But it is vital that carers check that they are claiming the right benefits or credits to ensure that they will get their full State Pension in retirement."
Carer's Credit is not a cash sum now but means that a carer's financial future can be protected. It credits a person's National Insurance record for the time they are caring, helping them to build up their State Pension.
Footnote: 1 In the Know (2006)Carers UK
Footnote: 2 Ipsos MORI poll on behalf of DWP, 2009
For more information visit www.direct.gov.uk/carers or call 0845 608 4321 (Telephone) or 0845 604 5312 (Textphone).
DWP estimates suggest that around 160,000 more people could start to gain Carer's Credit for the basic State Pension in 2010 but don't already do so, including around 115,000 women. Around 240,000 more people could accrue entitlement to State Second Pension than are currently doing so, including around 145,000 women.
New weekly National Insurance and earnings factor credits for carers have been available since 6 April 2010
Carers UK is a campaigning, policy and information organization of and for carers.
Carers UK makes a difference to carers' lives by:
Campaigning for a better deal for carers;
Informing carers of their rights and what help is available
Training and advising professionals who work with carers
Working across the UK through its membership and networks of branches and affiliates.
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