Published On: Thu, May 25th, 2023
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Full-time carer with no pensions worries she has ‘nothing for retirement’ | Personal Finance | Finance

A mum and full-time carer to her son has spoke out about how she is worried she has limited savings for her retirement.

Jane Mellor, 42, had her son when she was 25, and became his full-time carer after he was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

She received Carer’s Allowance but her partner at the time did not work very often so she was stuck in a “benefits trap”, she told

She did get some during that time and when her son was 10 she launched a blog,, which has become her full-time job.

Her 17-year-old son is now at a special needs college but she believes she will still need to support him and he may have to live at home with her for the long term.


At this stage, she is very concerned about her limited savings for retirement. She said: “While we have a house which offers some security, I don’t have anything for my retirement. “If feels very late and I wouldn’t know how much I should save to have something to retire with and live off and how to even go about setting up a pension as a self-employed person.”

Several personal finance experts offered their thoughts on Jen’s situation and what she could do to improve her situation.

One tip was for her to use the state pension forecast tool on the Government website to make sure she received credits for all the years she has claimed benefits.

The tool is also useful as it shows how much state pension a person is on track to receive. Someone of Jen’s age will receive the new state pension when they retire.

is currently £203.85 a week, and a person typically needs 35 years of NI contributions to get the full amount.

A person can voluntarily pay NI contributions to top up their contributions usually up to six years ago.

However, this period is extended by another 10 years at the moment, so a person can top up their contributions as far back as 2006.

However, this extension is only in place until the end of July, when it will revert to the usual six years.

Another consideration for Jen is when she will be able to claim the state pension. The state pension age for men and women is currently 66, however this is due to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and then to 68 between 2044 and 2046.

This means the state pension age for Jen is set to be 68 but some analysts are predicting the state pension age will further increase, so she may have to wait longer to claim the support.

Turning to private pensions, one of the wealth experts said an advantage of building her own pension savings is she can pass these on to her son when she dies.

They also encouraged her to set up a will and a power of attorney to make sure his needs are provided for when she dies.

A person in Jen’s situation may also want to check if they can claim any other Government support.

For example, people on certain means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit and Pension Credit, are receiving a £900 cost of living payment this financial year.

This is being paid in three instalments with the first £301 payment already gone out with the second £300 instalment in autumn 2023 and the third payment in spring 2024.

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