Pensions - Articles - Grandparents virtual care means they still get NI credits

Kate Smith, Aegon’s Head of Pensions, comments on the Government’s updated guidance confirming that grandparents caring for under 12s can still claim for NI credits even if care is provided virtually due to the coronavirus.

 Grandparents play a crucial role in helping to look after their grandchildren so parents can go to work. During the coronavirus crisis most grandparents have been unable to continue to carry out this role face to face, but have continued to provide vital care and support by phone, facetime, zoom or other video services. Although generally unpaid, it’s a little known fact that grandparents under state pension age can claim NI credits for looking after their grandchildren who are under 12. These NI credits can be extremely useful in helping to not only plug NI gaps, but also to build up the 35 qualifying NI years to get entitlement to the full state pension.

 “The coronavirus crisis will have impacted these caring arrangements, with many grandparents not physically seeing their grandchildren since lockdown, potentially jeopardising their retirement plans and future wellbeing. There’s a strict time limit in claiming the NI credits, as grandparents need to be below state pension age when they cared for the under 12s. Many grandparents close to state pension age will welcome the government’s decision to allow them to continue to claim for NI credits where care for under 12s is provided virtually, helping them to build up entitlement to the full state pension.”

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