£303 annual State Pension pay boost for older people with grandchildren

Older people providing care during term-time or summer school holidays for children under the age of 12 may be able to boost State Pension payments by more than £6,000 over a typical 20-year retirement period by claiming a National Insurance perk from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). A single extra National Insurance credit currently adds around £303-a-year on to the full, New State Pension.

The State Pension top-up is known as Specified Adult Childcare and works by transferring the National Insurance credit attached to Child Benefit from the Child Benefit recipient to a family member who is providing care for a related child under 12, or 17 if they have a disability. You will receive a Class 3 National Insurance credit for each week or part week you provided care for the child, but there is only one credit available for each Child Benefit claim - no matter how many children are on the claim itself.

For example, if two grandparents provided care for their daughter’s two children, there is only one credit available for transfer and the Child Benefit recipient must decide who should have the credit.

However, if the grandparent’s also have a son and provide care for their daughter’s child and their son’s child, there are likely to be two Child Benefit recipients and therefore, two credits are available for transfer.

If no one has claimed Child Benefit for the child there is no attached National Insurance credit to transfer and credits cannot be awarded.

It might sound a bit complicated, but essentially the boost is only available for looking after children whose parents are working, so they don't need the National Insurance credits from claiming Child Benefit to go towards their own State Pension.

It’s also worth noting that you can put in a retrospective claim for Specified Adult Childcare going back to April 6, 2011.

Claim for providing remote care during the Covid-19 pandemic

Guidance on GOV.UK says that from March 2020, your normal caring arrangements may have been affected by Covid-19.

This means that if you provided care, even if it was remotely over the phone, by text message or video call during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, you may also be able to plug any gaps in your National Insurance record by claiming Specified Adult Childcare.

This applies to the tax years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021.

The full, New State Pension is now worth £221.20 per week, equivalent to £11,502 each year, but to receive that maximum amount you need around 35 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions. You need at least 10 years to receive any payment at all.

Some people may have been ‘contracted out’ and will need more than 35 years - find out more here.

Who can apply for Specified Adult Childcare credits?

You can apply as long as:

  • you are an eligible family member who provided care for a child under 12

  • you were over 16 and under State Pension age when you provided care for the child

  • you are ordinarily resident in the UK but not the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man

  • the child’s parent (or main carer) has claimed Child Benefit but does not need the credits themselves

The child’s parent (or main carer) agrees to your application by counter-signing the form to confirm that you:

  • provided care for their child for the period stated

  • can have the credits for the period stated

Who counts as an eligible family member

You are classed as an eligible family member if you are the:

  • mother or father who does not live with the child

  • grandparent, great-grandparent or great-great-grandparent

  • brother or sister - including a half-brother or half-sister, step-brother or step-sister, an adopted brother or an adopted sister, aunt or uncle

You are also classed as an eligible family member if you are either the:

  • current or previous husband, wife, partner or civil partner of anyone in the list above

  • son or daughter of the current or previous husband, wife, partner or civil partner of anyone in the list above

A grandparent is reading a book to two younger children.
Older people can boost State Pension by £300 each year for looking after grandchildren during school summer holidays. -Credit:Getty Images

Who should not apply

You should not apply for credits if for the same period you:

  • already have a qualifying year of National Insurance - usually because you work or receive other National Insurance credits

  • are receiving Child Benefit for any child and already get credits automatically

If you are the spouse or partner living with the Child Benefit recipient and want to transfer the credits to yourself, you need to complete form CF411A - more details here.

When to apply

You must wait until October 31 after the end of the tax year you want to apply for. This means you can claim for the financial years 2011/12 - 2022/23 now and from October 31, 2024 for the 2023/24 tax year.

This is because HMRC needs to check that the parent or main carer already has a qualifying year for National Insurance purposes.

What you need to apply

To complete an application form, you will need:

  • your personal details as the eligible family member that provided care for the child

  • the child’s details and the periods you provided care for them

  • the personal details of the child’s parent or main carer - the Child Benefit recipient

The HMRC guidance explains that both you and the Child Benefit recipient must sign a declaration on the application form.

It also says that the child’s parent or main carer should check their National Insurance record online before you apply, to check that they have credits to transfer.

Full details on how to apply can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

Join our Daily Record Money WhatsApp community here to receive alerts on the latest money news from benefits to shopping deals.