Some women who reach the age of 66 have wrongly been told they have no entitlement to a state pension, when in fact they should get £85 a week.
These women were born 6 April 1953 or later and do not have enough National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to get a state pension of their own. The new state pension requires at least ten years of contributions paid or credited, and people who fail that test will normally not get any pension. However, there is a major concession that can help hundreds of thousands of women to get one.
In the past, married women could pay reduced NICs. Those earned them nothing, because they were expected to get a reduced pension based on their husband’s contributions (we are talking about a system devised in the 1940s).
However, under the new state pension there is no reduced pension paid on a husband’s contributions. So a special concession was included for women who had paid the reduced rate of contributions. If they’ve paid just one “married women’s contribution” in the 35 years before reaching state pension age, they will get a pension equal to the old pension based on a husband’s contributions. For example, women who reached 66 this tax year will get this pension if they paid a married women’s contribution in the week of 6 April 1987 or later. The pension is worth £85 a week if they have no entitlement of their own to a bigger one.
Some women may qualify if they paid a reduced contribution before that but still had the right to pay it on that date. The rules are complex and some DWP officials have got them wrong, telling women in this position they aren’t entitled to any state pension. But if you’re a married woman born 6 April 1953 or later, and paid the married women’s contribution at some time in the 35 years before reaching state pension age, you are entitled to a pension. Claim on 0800 731 7898; or, if you were told you’re not eligible, call 0800 731 0469.
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Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4. QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com.