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Pensions and Carers

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 17 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
State Pension Additional State Pension

Eligibility for a basic state pension is built up through your payment of National Insurance Contributions. You need to build up enough ‘qualifying years’ before you retire in order to receive a Basic State Pension. A qualifying year is a year when you have earned enough to pay National Insurance Contributions. In order to qualify for a Basic State Pension men need 44 qualifying years and women need 39.

If you are a carer, for a child or relative for example, you might not have enough qualifying years for a state pension. However, there are schemes in place to protect the pensions of parents and carers. You may be able to claim the Additional State Pension or Home Responsibilities Protection.

Additional State Pension

The Additional State Pension is paid on top of the Basic State Pension and benefits a range of people including carers, disabled people and those on low incomes.

In order to pay National Insurance you need to be earning at least £4,524 per year currently. If you earn less than this, or have certain reasons for not working you can still build up entitlement to an Additional State Pension. You can do this if:

  • You look after a child under 16, who you receive Child Benefit for.
  • You are a carer and eligible for Home Responsibilities Protection (see below).
  • You are eligible for Carers’ Allowance.

The Additional State Pension used to be called State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and changed in 2002, so you may receive a combination of SERPS and Additional State Pension when the time comes to draw your pension. SERPS was replaced by the additional state pension to allow for those who weren’t able to work such as parents and carers.

You can request a forecast of the pension you are predicted from the Pensions Service.

Home Responsibilities Protection

Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) is a scheme designed to protect your State Pension if you are not paying National Insurance Contributions because you are a parent or carer.

Some people will qualify automatically for Home Responsibilities Protection. For example:

  • If you are claiming Child Benefit for a child under 16.
  • If you are claiming Income Support because you are a carer.

You won’t be eligible for HRP if you receive carers’ allowance as you should automatically get National Insurance credits.

If you’re not receiving HRP but think you should be, you can apply if you meet the following requirements:

  • You spend over 35 hours a week caring for someone in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.
  • You are a foster carer and not earning enough per year for a State Pension.

HRP basically works by reducing the number of qualifying years you need to claim a state pension, to a minimum of 20 years.

To claim HRP you need to fill in a CF411 form, available on the HMRC website or from your local Jobcentre Plus office.

The future

The Pensions Act 2007 will mean some further changes to the State Pension system. As of 6 April 2010, HRP will be replaced and more people who are not paying National Insurance Contributions will be able to build up entitlement to Basic State Pension and Additional State Pension through the introduction of a weekly National Insurance credit.

These people will include:

  • Those receiving Child Benefit for a child under 12.
  • Foster carers.
  • Carers who look after someone for more than 20 hours per week.

More details of the scheme are expected to be released closer to 2010.

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[Add a Comment]
lynneso- Your Question:
I was wondering if any ones go any answers. We are trying to make a play area for our Daughter she is seven and is classed as a locked in child. We fostered her when she was allowed home. She had hit the 4lb mark and we brought mother and baby home although this was short lived as mummy couldn't stay sober. Our now daughter is a handful she has a lot of things going on in her wee mind, she is very active and seeks danger which is worrying. We bought her a bunk house BUTwe really need a sot play area round her house. I did seem a site that helps with things like this but I can't find it now. CAN ANYONE HELP PLEASE. LYNNE McAlpine

Our Response:
There are many charities you could apply to for a grant towards this. Here are just a few of them: Caudwell Children
The Act Foundation
Autism.org
FundingCaring - 19-May-16 @ 12:55 PM
I was wondering if any ones go any answers. We are trying to make a play area for our Daughter she is seven and is classed as a locked in child.We fostered her when she was allowed home. She had hit the 4lb mark and we brought mother and baby home although this was short lived as mummy couldn't stay sober. Our now daughter is a handful she has a lot of things going on in her wee mind, she is very active and seeks danger which is worrying. We bought her a bunk house BUTwe really need a sot play area round her house. I did seema site that helps with things like this but i can't find it now. CAN ANYONE HELP PLEASE. LYNNE McAlpine
lynneso - 17-May-16 @ 4:02 AM
@Roz. You must be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them.
FundingCaring - 11-May-15 @ 1:51 PM
I would like to know how much time you need to be spending with a blind elderly person to be claiming a part time carers allowance. I know someone who is getting paid a part time carers allowance and is only spending a few hours once a fortnight to take this person shopping. Seems like one hell of a wrought to me. Surely you would have to spend more than two hours a fortnight to receive £120 every fortnight. Can anyone tell me if this is correct. ?
Roz - 5-May-15 @ 12:38 PM
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