One in five carers is forced to give up employment so they can look after someone, and this causes gaps in their pension record. As a result, many carers struggle to make ends meet when they reach retirement age. This means that if you're a carer, protecting your pensions can be an important issue.

To receive a state retirement pension, you must have:

  • paid enough NI contributions
  • been credited with enough NI contributions, or 
  • a combination of the two

There are ways to ensure your pension is protected if you are a carer. These include NI credits or Carer's Credit. For example, for every week that Carer's Allowance is paid, you are credited with a NI contribution.

This helps people who are unable to work or have cut down their working hours as a result of caring. If you are not entitled to Carer's Allowance, you may be able to claim Carer's Credit instead.

You may also have a private or work pension, and may want to understand the range of pensions that exist and where to seek help if you're going to take a break from paying into a private or works pension.