Carer's Credit

Carer’s Credit is a weekly Class 3 National Insurance credit for carers which will protect your future entitlement to State Pension and bereavement benefits automatically. Carer’s Credit can also help if your spouse or civil partner needs to claim bereavement benefits.

Who is eligible for 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 getting any of the qualifying benefits listed above, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit if they have been certified by a 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.

You must be aged 16 or over and under State Pension age to get Carer's Credit.

If someone else also looks after the people you look after you may still get 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 is not eligible for Carer’s Credit

You cannot get Carer’s Credit if:

  • you are not habitually 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 Credit if you get:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • 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 and get National Insurance credits from HM Revenue &  Customs, you don't need to fill in an application form.

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

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

If you have a break in caring

You can still get Carer’s Credit for any breaks of up to 12 weeks in a row. For example, you will still get Carer's Credit for 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 the application pack below.

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 Department for Communities (DfC) 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 when:

  • you stop looking after the person
  • you no longer spend 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 go on holiday
  • you or the disabled person go into hospital
  • you or the disabled person go into residential care
  • the person no longer gets Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care (or this reduces to the lowest rate for personal care), Personal Independence Payment daily living component, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • 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 person you care for, change address

If you temporarily stop looking after them for 20 hours or more a week, you need to tell DCS if this break lasts for more than 12 weeks.

Home Responsibilities Protection

Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) was a scheme between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010 which protected a person's State Pension. You can claim HRP if you were  a carer for a complete tax year before April 2010. 

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