To qualify to receive a state retirement pension (in due time) an individual needs to have paid the necessary national insurance contributions. The Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) was set up in 1978 to cover carers (of sick or disabled people or of children under 16 ys) who were not in employment and did not pay national insurance. You qualify for HRP if, throughout a complete tax year, you spend: at least 35 hrs a week looking after someone who gets attendance allowance, or disability living allowance middle or higher rate care component, or constant attendance allowance, or is paid child benefit for a child under 16. To apply for HRP you need a form CF411 available from your local Jobcentre Plus or HMRC (Tax) Office or downloaded from http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ For the tax years up to 2001/02, if HRP was not awarded, you can apply at any time, but from tax year 2003/03 onwards you need to apply by the end of the third year following the year for which you are claiming HRP.
All is explained in the DISABILITY RIGHTS HANDBOOK.
Changes from APRIL 2010. From 6 April HRP will be replaced by a weekly carers credit which will be much the same but is apparently more flexible (thank goodness). One difference is the child’s age which will be limited to under age 12. Also it will be possible to get a credit if you are caring for at least 20 hour a week in some circumstances.
I hope to have more information once the new Handbook is published.