Unpaid caregivers above state retirement age can claim these DWP benefits to help them supplement their monthly payments


State Pension provides essential financial support to over 12.4 million people across the UK. This regular payment is available to those who have reached the UK Government’s eligible retirement age, which is now 66 for both men and women.

However, the retirement allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is not paid automatically, it must be claimed by those of eligible age, as some people choose to defer their claim in order to continue to benefit. work and increase their retirement fund. .

This is because not everyone is entitled to a full basic pension at retirement age. Currently, you need 10 years of national insurance contributions to qualify for a state pension payment with 35 years needed for the full amount.

If you have any gaps to fill, you can buy additional National Insurance contributions to make up for the extra years – each additional year of voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions costs around £ 800.

You can view your state pension forecast on the GOV.UK website here.

Besides a state pension, there are a variety of benefits older people are eligible for if they are looking after someone and this is something Carer’s UK has made aware of on their website here.

These include:

  • Care allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Housing allowance
  • Municipal tax reduction

If you are part of a couple and one of you has not reached retirement age, you may also be entitled to universal credit.

In addition, you may be able to get mortgage interest assistance through the Mortgage Interest Support loan.

You can quickly see if you are missing additional financial support using an online benefit calculator. These are free, independent and completely confidential, intended to give you an idea of ​​what benefits you might be entitled to and how much you might get.

Where to find help

Care allowance and state pension

Although there is no upper age limit for applying for child care allowance, you cannot receive the full amount of child care allowance and your state pension at the same time.

Indeed, care allowance and state pension are both classified as “overlapping benefits”.

However, you may still be able to get some extra money in recognition of your role as a caregiver.

If your state pension is less than the care allowance (less than £ 67.60 per week), you can claim the difference in the form of care allowance.

For example, if your state pension is £ 50 per week, you may receive £ 17.60 per week in care allowance.

If your state pension is more than the care allowance (over £ 67.60 per week), you cannot receive care allowance. .

What is an “underlying entitlement” to care allowance?

The underlying entitlement means that you meet the conditions for the care allowance, but you cannot receive the allowance because it overlaps with another allowance that you are receiving.

Carer’s UK informs you that if this applies to you, the DWP should have sent you a letter confirming your “underlying entitlement” to child care allowance.

This can be financially beneficial, as it may increase any means-tested benefits you currently receive, or it could mean that you are entitled to means-tested benefits for the first time – depending on your income and your capital and those of any partner.

This is because having the “underlying entitlement” to the care allowance means that an amount called the care supplement will be included to determine whether you are entitled to means-tested allowance.

Pension credit

The pension credit is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached the age for state pension credit and who have income and capital below a certain amount.

The pension credit has two parts:

  • Guarantee pension credit
  • Credit retirement savings

You may not be entitled to the savings loan if you have reached the legal retirement age on or after April 6, 2016.

If you are in a relationship:

  • If only one of you is past retirement age, you will need to apply for universal credit instead of retirement credit. If you are both over the statutory retirement age, you can apply for a pension credit

Guarantee pension credit

Guaranteed pension credit works by supplementing your income up to your “appropriate amount,” which is the amount that the law says you have to live on.

Calculate your “appropriate amount”

Your “appropriate amount” is calculated by adding your minimum guarantee amount to the additional amounts to which you are entitled.

The minimum guarantee for a single person is £ 177.10 per week and for a couple £ 270.30 per week.

Certain additional amounts may be added to your minimum guarantee:

  • Addition of caregiver – £ 37.70 per week and may be included if you also receive care allowance or the underlying entitlement to care allowance
  • Addition of severe disability – £ 67.30 per week for each eligible person and may be included if you (and your partner if you have one) receive an eligible disability benefit (which includes the mid-level or the top rate of the care component of the ‘Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Daily Living Component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and any care allowance rate, and whether no one is receiving the nursing allowance or care component from the universal credit to take care of you
  • You can also get an additional amount of pension credit if you are responsible for children or young people who usually live with you. This is called the ‘extra child’ and is paid £ 65.10 for an only child or the oldest child born before 6 April 2017 and £ 54.60 for other children.

If you simply obtain the “underlying entitlement” to the care allowance to care for a person and you do not claim the universal credit with the carer element, this will not affect the entitlement to the supplement. for severe disability for the person you are caring for.

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How to apply for a pension credit

You can start your application up to four months before reaching retirement age.

You can apply any time after reaching retirement age, but your application can only be backdated for three months.

This means that you can get up to three months of pension credit on your first payment if you were eligible during that time.

You will need:

  • your national insurance number

  • information about your income, savings and investments

  • your bank details, if you are applying by phone or by mail

If you are backdating your application, you will need details of your income, savings, and investments as of the date you want your application to start.

Apply online

You can use the online service if:

To check your rights, call the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the GOV.UK Pension Credit Calculator here to find out how much you might get.

You can find more information on calculating the pension credit as well as examples and details on mortgage interest support / housing allowance and municipal tax cuts on the Carer’s UK website here.

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