February 20, 2024 News No Comments

The government has announced that it will put legislation in place to allow parents and carers to apply for National Insurance Credits where they have not claimed Child Benefit, to ensure that people do not miss out on their State Pension entitlement.

In most cases, you can get a full State Pension if you have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions, and you need a minimum of 10 qualifying years to receive any State Pension entitlement. One way to earn a credit other than through employment or making voluntary contributions is by claiming Child Benefit. This means a parent or carer can be credited with National Insurance Contributions until their youngest child is 12, even if they are not earning.

Child Benefit payments are received tax-free as long as neither parent earns more than £50,000 a year. However, if earnings are higher than this, some or all of the Child Benefit will need to be repaid in an extra form of Income Tax known as the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’.

In April last year, the government recognised concerns that some eligible parents who had not claimed Child Benefit, often to avoid the High Income Child Benefit Charge, could miss out on their future entitlement to a full State Pension. The government said the issue would be addressed to ensure that those affected are not disadvantaged due to not claiming Child Benefit.

HMRC said legislation will be brought forward and will allow individuals to claim this credit from 2026, and eligibility will be closely based on the criteria for receiving Child Benefit. The credit will add qualifying years of National Insurance where eligible, which will support future State Pension eligibility. Transitional arrangements will ensure those affected since 2013 are still able to claim.

Going forward, applications will be available for 6 years following the relevant tax year and the government plans to bring forward secondary legislation as soon as possible.

You can read more about checking your State Pension entitlement here.

Written by Eldon