State pension entitlement is based on an individual’s National Insurance (NI) record. Britons may need 35 years’ worth of contributions in order to
State pension entitlement is based on an individual’s National Insurance (NI) record. Britons may need 35 years’ worth of contributions in order to get the full state pension.
A total of 10 years of contributions is needed in order to get any state pension at all.
Qualifying years of NI contributions are usually earned by working, but there are also ways people who are unemployed can build up their NI record and simultaneously give themselves a right to more state pension.
This is done through NI credits, which can be awarded to people who claim certain benefits.
Speaking on Thursday evening’s episode of ‘The Martin Lewis Money Show Live’, Mr Lewis offered some key tips on how Britons can boost their state pension entitlement by claiming NI credits.
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He said: “If you’re a carer for someone who’s on a benefit, for over 20 hours a week, you can be entitled to Carer’s Credit, and if it’s over 35 hours a week you might be entitled to £67 a week Carer’s Allowance.”
Another potential benefit which could allow people to pick up NI credits is Specified Adult Childcare credits, which is available to those who have provided unpaid care for a child relative.
Mr Lewis explained: “If you care for a child under 12 while their parent works, that includes distance care during the pandemic, then that form there (Form CA9176) can transfer their adult child care credit, and they’re getting a credit anyway because they’re at work, to the carer.
“I actually call this one ‘grandparents credit’. If you’re a grandparent looking after your kids’ kids because they’re working, you might be entitled to National Insurance credits.”
He also urged Britons to put in a claim for Child Benefit as a means of boosting their NI credits, even if they are not entitled to any money from it.
“If you’re a non working parent married to somebody who earns over 60,000 pounds, so you don’t get Child Benefit, claim anyway,” Mr Lewis said.
“It’s that claim that starts to trigger your National Insurance credits for being a parent.
“Claim at the zero rate, but make sure you claim or you can miss out on the National Insurance credit.”
Elsewhere, the money saving expert encouraged pension age Britons to check their eligibility for Pension Credit.
He said: “There are over a million who are state pension age missing out on pension credit. If that’s you, think about it, if you know someone, talk to them.
“What this can do is it can top up your pension if your total weekly income is below £177, £270 quid for a couple.”
People who earn more than that amount might be entitled to a small pension credit top up, and Mr Lewis explained why people should still claim even if they are not entitled to a large amount.
“The reason this is so important is it’s a gateway benefit,” he said.
“If you’re entitled to the core element of pension credit, then if you’re over 75, you get a free TV licence, your council tax may be lowered, you may get the warm home discount. It’s really important to trigger getting this.
“You can claim via gov.uk, or just call up the pension credit hotline. If you’re not sure if you’re entitled, have a chat with them and find out.”