97% of those eligible for carer’s credit do not claim

Recent data has revealed that a scheme designed to help boost the pension entitlement of carers is falling short.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions, the Goverment scheme is failing to reach 97% of those it aims to benefit, with this figure estimated at 160,000.

However, following a Freedom of Information request made by Royal London, it was found that the national insurance credit was claimed by just 3,524 people during 2016/17.

According to the pension provider, whilst the credits would add a further £237 to a carer’s pension state pension over the course of a year, more than 155,000 carers are missing out. On this basis, it estimates that there is a total loss of over £700 million.

Both Royal London and Carers UK are urging the Government to improve their approach to the scheme and ensure that those who are eligible to benefit are aware of how to do so.

Commenting on the results of the request was Steve Webb. The Royal London policy director highlighted the need for information to be made more accessible to those who can benefit: “These schemes are introduced with the best of intentions, but they become no more than window-dressing if virtually nobody actually takes them up. Governments cannot simply hope that 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 get the help to which they are entitled.”

Also sharing her thoughts on how the scheme could be improved was Emily Holzhausen. The policy and public affairs director at Carers UK drew attention to the vitality of the credit for carers, highlighting that the value they bring to the UK economy should not be overlooked.

“The carer’s credit is a good scheme but it needs much more effective publicity. Caring often impacts negatively on health, wellbeing and ability to work and yet carers’ contribution to the economy is worth billions a year. They should not lose out financially in retirement as well.”

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