Fewer people applied last year for valuable credits which could help boost their pension, figures show.
Some 5,209 people claimed carer’s credit in 2020, which counts toward state pension entitlement.
This was down by around 20% from 6,489 claims recorded in 2019.
The credit helps people to take on caring responsibilities without it affecting their ability to qualify for the state pension.
The findings were released by wealth management firm Quilter, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
These people sometimes don't even recognise themselves as carers or the extent of the sacrifice they are making. Thinking of their own long-term financial wellbeing is crucial and the state pension is a big part of that, particularly as it's money they rightfully deserveOlivia Kennedy, Quilter
Quilter said the number fell despite some recent evidence suggesting that the number of people who became unpaid carers had increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2015, the Department for Work and Pensions estimated around 200,000 carers were eligible, with women making up a substantial proportion. Quilter said it expected this number has increased since 2015.
Quilter calculated that only around a fifth of eligible carers have claimed the credit since it launched in 2010.
Carer’s credits count towards a person’s state pension entitlement by helping to fill gaps in national insurance records.
Someone must be aged between 16 and state pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week.
More information can be found on the Department for Work and Pensions website – gov.uk/carers-credit.
Each annual credit missed could cost 1/35 of the value of the state pension – equating to around £260 per year or £5,200 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement, Quilter said.
Olivia Kennedy, financial planner at Quilter, said: “In this unprecedented year it is inevitable that we will have seen a dramatic increase in the already sizable unpaid carer population.
“Throughout the pandemic, they have continued to prop up support services.
“However, these people sometimes don’t even recognise themselves as carers or the extent of the sacrifice they are making.
“Thinking of their own long-term financial wellbeing is crucial and the state pension is a big part of that, particularly as it’s money they rightfully deserve.”