Could you be missing out on a state pension boost worth £1,000s?

Thousands of grandparents who have given up work to help look after their grandchildren could be missing out on a state pension boost worth £1,000s over the course of their retirement, new research has revealed. But you can act now to protect your pension.

The Government scheme – technically known as 'specified adult childcare credits' – was introduced six years ago, and is designed to protect the pensions of grandparents who retire early to help care for grandchildren so their parents can go back to work.

A parent (usually the mother, though it can be the father) who gets child benefit for a child under 12 automatically gets NI credits towards their state pension. But a mum who goes back to work and pays NI doesn't need the credit because she gets a qualifying year anyway.

Under the scheme, a mum can sign a form and pass the NI credit to the grandparent who is actually looking after the child. This means the grandparent benefits from the NI credit and it goes towards their state pension instead.

The number of hours a grandparent helps out with childcare is irrelevant to the claim. So even if it's just one day a week, eligible grandparents should be able to claim.