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 basic 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 basic state pension rate and an earnings-related Additional State 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.
Additional State Pension
Additional State Pension is an extra amount of money you could get on top of your basic State Pension if you are a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953.
Further information is available on Additional State Pension .
New National Insurance credits for carers protect your future entitlement to State Pension and bereavement benefits automatically.
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 gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you are over State Pension age and on a low income.
Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges.
You might get extra help if you are a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person.
To find out the age when you can apply for Pension Credit, you can use the State Pension age calculator below.