‘Sandwich carers’ face pension injustice - Royal London

‘Sandwich carers’ – those caring for both children and elderly relatives – are at risk of missing out on state pension credits, according to Royal London.

Following the Office for National Statistics' research on 1.3 million sandwich carers, Royal London highlighted that the group risks losing out on National Insurance (NI) credits if their youngest child is a teenager.

This is due to the fact that NI credits are stopped when the parent’s youngest child reaches 12 years old.

Furthermore, automatic credits for carers are only available to those who do 35 hours per week of caring and receive carer's allowance.

Many sandwich carers may not be doing 35 hours per week, due to juggling family and eldercare, and may miss out as a result.

Although there is a scheme for carers doing between 20 and 35 hours per week, take-up has been very poor.

This could result in sandwich carers damaging their future state pension in addition to the current pressures that they face.

Commenting on the analysis, Royal London director of policy, Steve Webb, said: “As well as facing mental health challenges and feeling the squeeze financially, sandwich carers also risk damaging their future state pension rights.

“The government urgently needs to review the support given to carers and in particular the gaps in the system of NI credits for carers, to make sure that those who contribute so much to our society are not punished again.

“These rules represent a pensions ‘double whammy’ for those who are already feeling the pinch”.

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