If anyone gives up work to look after a family member it is important that they claim carers allowance or carer’s credit in order to maintain their entitlement to a state pension in later life.

You need a full 35 years of National Insurance contributions or credits, in order to receive the full state pension (currently £164.35 per week or £8,546 a year) when you retire.

If someone is not working (because of caring responsibilities) they will not be paying National Insurance. Carers who qualify for carer’s allowance benefit, automatically build credits towards their state pension. But if is someone is an unpaid carer and doesn’t claim this allowance, or is not eligible, they should instead claim carer’s credit in order to maintain their national insurance record. You can retrospectively claim credits you’ve missed out on, but only to the beginning of the previous tax year.

Anyone who is an unpaid carer and doesn’t qualify for carer’s allowance can claim credits if they are aged between 16 and state pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours per week.