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20 May 2019, 12:20
Up to a million people could be missing out on the benefit that only around 10,000 people in the UK claim
Grandparents might be missing out on a £250 a year benefit for looking after their grandchildren, but very few people are aware that it exists.
They may be eligible to receive £250 pension credit annually, but currently only around 10,000 - up from just 1,298 a few years ago - claim it, The Mirror reports.
Figures from Royal London indicate that up to a million families could be missing out.
Royal London director of policy Steve Webb said: "Whilst it is great news that thousands more grandparents are now benefiting from this scheme, the numbers are still a drop in the ocean out of all those who could benefit.
"It is increasingly common for grandparents to spend some time each week looking after their grandchildren, often to enable a parent to go out to work.
"It would be quite wrong if these grandparents suffered financially in terms of their own state pension as a result.
"This scheme needs to be much better publicised and I would encourage any family with a grandparent under pension age who helps out with the childcare to find out more."
The scheme is designed to help grandparents take care of kids under 12 while the parents are out. Each credit is worth £250 a year on your state pension, and you generally need 35 years' built up in order to get the full amount.
However, large numbers of parents don't need the full credit - as they already get one from their work.
The system works by letting parents transfer their National Insurance credit from themselves to someone else looking after their children.
There is no minimum time spent caring for the children, and you can even backdate unclaimed benefits dating from 2011.
The scheme is known as the "specified adult childcare credit" - and aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents, are also eligible.
A spokesperson for Department of Work and Pensions said: "The number of people receiving specified adult childcare credits has risen substantially since they were introduced in 2011.
"We encourage everyone who might benefit to apply for the credits to which they're entitled and extensive information on how to apply can be found on gov.uk."
Find out more information on eligibility here.