Caring and your pension

If you cannot work or don't earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions because you are caring for someone, you may still be credited with National Insurance contributions. If you are a pensioner, you may be able to get Pension Credit.

New State Pension

New State Pension replaced the State Pension scheme for anyone who reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. You can still receive new State Pension if you have other income like a personal or workplace pension.

Your new State Pension is based on your National Insurance record. National Insurance contributions or credits on your National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 count towards your new State Pension.

You need 35 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get a full new State Pension. You will usually need at least ten qualifying years to get some new State Pension. The qualifying years don’t need to be consecutive.

State Pension before 6 April 2016

State Pension was made up of two parts: a flat-rate basic pension and an earnings-related additional pension, also called the State Second Pension.

Your entitlement to State Pension was based on the number of 'qualifying years' - which are tax years - in which you  paid, were treated as having paid, or were credited with National Insurance contributions.

A person with 30 qualifying years was entitled to a full basic State Pension. Just one qualifying year, achieved through paid or credited National Insurance contributions, entitled them to the basic State Pension worth 1/30th of the full basic State Pension.

Additional State Pension

If you do not earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions or you are self-employed, you can still build up an entitlement to additional State Pension, also called State Second Pension, if you:

  • qualified for Home Responsibilities Protection before April 2010
  • are entitled to Carer's Credit
  • are a foster carer
  • are entitled to Carer's Allowance, even if you do not receive it because you get another benefit at the same or a higher rate
  • get Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12

For more information, go to the link below:

Carer's Credit

From 6 April 2010, new National Insurance credits for carers protected your future entitlement to State Pension and bereavement benefits automatically.

The credit may also help you build up some additional pension, sometimes called State Second Pension, but only up to 5 April 2016. Any additional pension you are entitled to will be part of your State Pension when you claim it.

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:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or the highest rate 
  • Attendance Allowance at any rate
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at any rate
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

If the person or people you care for don't get any qualifying benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit if a health or social care professional certifies they need the hours of care being provided each week.

You will already be getting credits if you get one of the following:

  • 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 HMRC, you don't need to fill in the application form.

Carer's Allowance and National Insurance contributions

For each week you receive Carer's Allowance, you will normally get a Class 1 National Insurance (NI) credit added to your NI record up to the tax year in which you reach State Pension age (unless you are a married woman who has chosen to pay reduced NI contributions).

You will also normally be credited with a NI credit for any week you are entitled to Carer's Allowance, but it is not paid because you are also getting Widow's Benefit or Bereavement Benefits at the same or a higher weekly rate.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an entitlement for people who have reached the qualifying age and are living in Northern Ireland. It could top up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. If you are aged 65 or over and have saved towards your retirement, you could receive extra money on top of this.

You may also get extra money if you or your partner - if you have one - care for someone, are severely disabled or have housing costs, like a mortgage for example.

The age from which you can get Pension Credit (the qualifying age) is gradually increasing from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and 2020. To find out the age when you can apply for Pension Credit, you can use the State Pension age calculator below.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.