Thousands of Brits urged to check benefits as they risk losing out on £5,000 retirement boost

THOUSANDS of Brits have been urged to check their benefit entitlements as they risk losing out on a £5,000 retirement boost.

Those who don't get a carer's allowance but do care for someone may be eligible for carer's credits.

This is because if you're a carer, you might be unable to work and you could be left with gaps in your National Insurance record.

How much you get for your state pension depends in part on how much you pay in National Insurance contributions throughout your working life.

That means carers could be missing out on money for their state pension.

The state pension is currently £179.60 per week and you will need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to receive the state pension – although they don't have to be 10 years in a row.

For most people this means working and paying National Insurance for at least a decade.

But carers might be eligible for carers credits which help to fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record and can be used to make sure you get at least the minimum state pension.

It means you can carry on with your caring responsibilities without being worried about losing out on the state pension.

You must be between 16 years old and state pension age and look after one or more people for at least 20 hours week to qualify.

However, according to research from wealth management firm Quilter, shared exclusively with The Sun, only 4,759 people have claimed carer's credits so far this year.

Each annual credit missed could cost you 1/35th of the value of the state pension – around £260 per year or £5,200 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.

Only 20% of the total number of people eligible for carer's credits have actually applied for them – roughly over 44,000 Brits.

But with at least 200,000 carers eligible in total, it means over 150,000 people could be missing out on money they are entitled to.

Quilter financial planner Olivia Kennedy said: "Unfortunately, many people fail to see themselves as carers and fail to apply for carers credit.

"Failing to do so can have a disastrous impact on someone’s financial wellbeing as many people begin being a carer later on in life and might need the credits to get the full state pension."

How to apply

You can download an application form from the gov.uk website.

Make sure to fill it out and send it back to the address provided.

However, you do not need to apply if you get Carer's Allowance or Child Benefit for a child under 12 as you will automatically get credits.

You can challenge a decision about your claim online – this is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Here's four pension changes coming in next year, including an increase to the state pension.

We explain how much the state pension will be going up by.

Brits could be missing out on billions of pounds because of missed National Insurance credits – we explain why.

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