People who have given up work to look after their grandchildren are missing out on Government credits that could be costing them thousands of pounds in state pension, new figures show.
The “specified adult childcare credit” is designed to protect the pensions of grandparents who retire early to care for grandchildren so their parents can go back to work.
Each year that a person misses from work takes £231 a year from the state pension, a loss of £5,800 over a 25-year retirement.
But a Freedom of Information request sent to HM Revenue & Customs shows only 1,298 people claimed the credit in the year to September 2016.
According to estimates from Royal London, a pension company that submitted the information request, more than 100,000 grandparents of working age could benefit from the scheme, according to estimates from Royal London, a pension company that submitted the information request.
Telegraph Money has previously revealed the plight of stay-at-home mothers who also miss out on state pension credits.
Nursery costs have increased far more quickly than inflation or wages, meaning more grandparents are helping with childcare.
Royal London said that office for National Statistics data shows 1.3 million working mothers with at least one child under 12 are relying on their own parents.
Steve Webb, a director at Royal London and former pensions minister, said: “Many families rely heavily on the support provided by grandparents to enable them to combine paid work and family life.
“The fact that there is a scheme to make sure that grandparents do not lose out, by protecting their state pension rights, is a very good thing. But the scheme is not much use if hardly anyone takes it up. ”
The new state pension is worth £155.65 a week and is based on 35 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions.