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Carer's Credit

Carer’s Credit is a weekly Class 3 National Insurance and Earnings Factor credit for carers which can help to build a better basic or additional State Pension.  Carer’s Credit can also help if your spouse or civil partner ever needs to claim bereavement benefits.

Who can get Carer’s Credit?

You can get Carer’s Credit if you look after one or more people, for a total of 20 hours or more a week, who get:

If the person or people you care for are not receiving any of the qualifying benefits listed above, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit if they have been certified by an suitable health or social care professional as requiring the hours of care being provided each week.

There is no limit to the number of people you can look after.

If someone else also looks after the people you look after you may still get Carer’s Credit.

Income, savings or investments do not affect Carer’s Credit.

The caring week runs from Sunday to Saturday so you can get Carer’s Credit even if you only care at weekends.

Who cannot get Carer’s Credit?

You cannot get Carer’s Credit if:

  • you are not normally resident in Northern Ireland
  • you are in prison
  • you are under age 16 or over State Pension age

Other information

You will already be getting Carer’s Credits if you:

  • get Carer’s Allowance
  • get Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12

In these cases you do not need to fill in an application form as the credits will be awarded automatically.

If you are a foster carer, you will need to apply to HM Revenue and Customs to get the new credits.

You will not be paid any money if you are entitled to Carer’s Credit.

You will receive National Insurance credits.

If you have a break in caring

You can still get Carer’s Credit for any breaks of up to 12 weeks if;

  • you take a short holiday
  • someone you look after goes into hospital
  • you go into hospital

You must tell Disability and Carers Service (DCS) straight away if you have a break in caring of more than 12 weeks in a row.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

Carer’s Credit will not affect any other benefits or entitlements you may be getting.

How to apply for Carer’s Credit

You can get an application pack over the telephone, from:

You can also download

Complete the application form and any Care Certificates you need to support your application.

Carers will have up to the end of the tax year following the tax year in which caring took place to apply for Carer’s Credit.

Further information for health and social care professionals on how to complete Care Certificates can be found on the DSD website.

  • Notes for Health and Social Care Professional Certifiers when completing a Care Certificate (DSD website)

Changes to your circumstances or those you are caring for

Changes to your circumstances, and those of the people you care for, can affect your eligibility for Carer's Credit. You should tell DCS if you stop looking after the disabled person(s) or you no longer spend a total of 20 hours or more a week looking after them. You should also tell DCS if you stop looking after them for a period of more than 12 weeks. This could be because you or the disabled person(s) go:

  • on holiday
  • into hospital
  • into residential care
  • if you temporarily stop looking after them for 20 hours or more please tell DCS if this break lasts for more than 12 weeks
  • the disabled person (s) is/are no longer getting Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care (or this reduces to the lowest rate for personal care)
  • you are detained in legal custody
  • you are going to leave Northern Ireland (tell DCS about this as soon as you can)
  • you, or the disabled person(s) you care for, change address

Home Responsibilities Protection

Home Responsibilities Protection was a scheme which between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010 helped protect your State Pension. You can make a claim for previous tax years.