A Government scheme aimed at helping carers of disabled people build their state pension entitlement is only reaching 97 per cent of those it is targeted at.
According to data from the Department for Work and Pensions, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Royal London, 3,524 people claimed the national insurance credit in 2016/17.
When the scheme was introduced, the DWP estimated 160,000 carers would benefit from it.
Royal London says each year of credits would add £237 to a carer’s state pension, which would be £4,700 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.
The provider estimates that, assuming more than 155,000 carers each year are missing out, there is a total loss of more than £700m.
Royal London and Carers UK are calling on Government to take a better approach to make sure carers benefit from the scheme.
Royal London policy director Steve Webb says: “These schemes are introduced with the best of intentions, but they become no more than window-dressing if virtually nobody actually takes them up. Governments cannot simply hope that people find the information on official websites or rely on the occasional ministerial press release. It is time for proactive communications with those who are meant to benefit so that far more people get the help to which they are entitled.”
Carers UK policy and public affairs director Emily Holzhausen adds: “The carer’s credit is a good scheme but it needs much more effective publicity. Caring often impacts negatively on health, wellbeing and ability to work and yet carers’ contribution to the economy is worth billions a year. They should not lose out financially in retirement as well.”