Childcare: thousands of grandparents miss out on a pension perk
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Thousands of grandparents who look after their grandchildren continue to miss out on a perk that could increase their state pension.
New figures show that while more than 10,000 have made use of a scheme designed to assist grandparents who make sacrifices to help their children get back to work after the birth of a child, there are still many more who have not.
The government launched the “specified adult childcare credits” in 2011. It means that if a mother goes back to work after the birth of a child, she can sign a form that allows a grandparent, or other family member, to receive national insurance credits, provided the child is under 12.
Data obtained via a freedom of information request by mutual insurer Royal London found that the number claiming rose to just over 10,000 by 2018. However, Steve Webb, the firm’s director of policy, says: “While it is great news that thousands more grandparents are benefiting, the numbers are still a drop in the ocean out of all those who could claim. It is increasingly common for grandparents to spend some time each week looking after their grandchildren, often to enable a parent to go out to work,” he says.
“It would be quite wrong if these grandparents suffered financially in terms of their own state pension as a result. This scheme needs to be much better publicised, and I would encourage any family with a grandparent under pension age who helps out with the childcare to find out more.”
One year of the tax credits can be worth around £250, or £5,000 over the course of a 20-year retirement.
It’s not known precisely how many people are missing out, says the firm, but according to research by charity Grandparents Plus, around two-thirds of all grandparents reported that they spent time looking after grandchildren. There are more than 7 million grandparents of all ages in Britain with grandchildren under 16.
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