A government scheme aimed to help carers obtain a better state pension failed to reach 97% of its audience in the previous financial year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Responding to a Freedom of Information request from insurer Royal London, the DWP said just 3,524 carers claimed the so-called carer’s credit in 2016/17.
The DWP suggested that up to 160,000 carers in the UK are eligible to benefit from the national insurance credit, but only 3% took up the option to add £237 a year towards their state pension.
To qualify for the credit, a carer must be between 16 and state pension age and spend more than 20 hours a week caring for a disabled person who is in receipt of either the:
- disability living allowance care component rate (middle or highest rate)
- attendance allowance
- constant attendance allowance
- personal independence payment daily living component (standard or enhanced rate)
- armed forces independence payment.
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said:
“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 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.”
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