I read yours the last column about work experience for receiving a state pension. I am due to receive my pension after turning 66 this September.
My pension estimate includes NI contributions until April 2021. I have more than the full required number of years.
This includes the last few years of Special Childcare Credit for adults since 2016 due to providing childcare for my grandchild instead of me making voluntary contributions as I am not working.
Turning 66 soon: why isn’t the DWP adding my last state pension to my grandparent’s credit yet?
These loans help me to fill the gap created by the contract to receive part of my state pension from my local government pension contributions.
That’s the point. I want to claim “specified adult childcare credits” for 2021-2022. I applied in June because I knew they would be calculating my pension, even though the website advises not to apply until the end of October as not all relevant NI contributions (usually for the mother in these cases) will be apparent by then .
However, my claim was rejected because the information did not become public until later. They didn’t agree to keep my application on file and said I should apply again at the end of October.
I have a concern about this. As far as I know, if I was paying voluntary contributions myself I wouldn’t be able to top it up like this after my pension started, so I’m not sure they will meet my credit claim after October.
The person I spoke to would not categorically confirm that the claim could be processed after my pension started.
I asked if I could get some information in writing or by email to confirm I was asking for this before my pension started, but was told no, although he said there would be a recording of our conversation and to take notes time and date of it.
I would appreciate some clarification on this if you can help in any way. It appears that, as in years past, I will be eligible for these credits, but now the red tape is preventing me from claiming them.
Can you confirm at all that this kind of claim can be considered for the previous year, even after pensions have started? Otherwise, I will lose my annual fees.
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Steve Webb replies: The good news is that the National Insurance credits available to some grandparents and others are now much better known, but the way they work is still a source of confusion.
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I’m happy to help explain how the system works, but in short, you shouldn’t have any problems getting them added to your record if the care itself was done before you reached retirement age.
In summary, the idea of what are commonly known as “grandparent loans” is that quite often in a family a mother or father with young children can go out to work because another family member is looking after part of the week children.
As parents are more likely to be in salary and pay their own National Insurance, the credit they also receive for receiving Child Benefit with a child under 12 is ‘non-countable’, provided that they really require child support or at least the loans that go with it.
Under the system (officially known as ‘specified childcare credits for adults’), parents can fill out a form to confirm that another family member (other than a spouse or partner) is looking after the child for part of the week and sign off on the credits for that person.
As long as family members are not of pensionable age during the year in which they provided care, they are eligible for credits.
There is no minimum number of hours of care, but the credit can be transferred to only one family member. There’s also no deadline for claims, but – as you’ve discovered – they can’t be made *until* October after the end of the relevant tax year.
Sometimes grandparents and others ask me if parents lose it.
They don’t have to worry about it, because the loan is in excess. Parents get a year on top of their state pension if they work and pay NI, so it costs them nothing to co-sign the loan for someone else.
Turning to your specific situation, the reason you have to wait until October to apply for the previous financial year is that HMRC will only know if there is a credit once they have downloaded the previous tax year’s National Insurance documents onto their computer a year or not.
For example, one parent may only work part-time and not pay enough NI to get a qualifying year for their own pension. In this case, they lose by co-signing their loan.
You don’t have to worry about being past retirement age by the time you can file. You worked as a carer before you reached pensionable age, so you are eligible if other conditions are met.
After a successful claim this will be added to your NI record and your state pension should be calculated to take this extra year into account.
If you also do not receive arrears, you should check it in Pension Service.
You can read more about how to apply here: Fact sheet on designated adult child care credits.
Can your state pension be a year less than your NI record?
If you believe your last year of NI contributions has been removed from your record, please email us with the following details:
– Your date of birth
– Your BASIC state pension figure – this should be shown on your annual statement
– How many years you have left to receive your state pension, or as close to an estimate as possible
– Did you work and pay NI until you reached State Pension age and if you remember it being recalculated shortly after you started collecting it
– Your phone number – this will only be used to further resolve this issue and not for marketing purposes.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put DWP CLAIMS in the subject line. Keep in mind that we can’t answer everything. If you are worried that your State Pension is being underpaid, contact the DWP Pensions Service.
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Whether you’re still saving, quitting your job, or juggling your finances in retirement, he’s ready to answer your questions.
Steve left the Department for Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a partner in the actuarial and consulting firm Lane Clark & Peacock.
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