It has been estimated that as many as 100,000 pensioners and family members could be missing out on National Insurance Credits to top up their pension funds.
Information obtained from a freedom of information request submitted to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shows that in the 12 months to September 2017, only 9,486 people applied for the benefit – just a small proportion of those eligible.
The credits, which are available for those who look after young children instead of working, can be worth up to £230 a year in retirement.
Any family member who is of working age and looks after a child under 12 may be eligible to make a claim for the credits, if the child’s main parent or caregiver is working.
“This National Insurance credit is a valuable right,” said Royal London policy director and former Pensions Minister Steve Webb, who made the FOI request.
“But we believe there are tens of thousands more grandparents who could be entitled to benefit, and we would encourage more of them to find out about the scheme and to make a claim.”