Today, that Daily Express brings its readers “You Essential Guide to Pensions” – a special pull-out dedicated to retirement, pensions, and the state pension. Among the guide is a reminder for certain women to check to see if they are missing out on extra cash.
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Women who are newly retired, and those who are approaching retirement, who paid the Married Woman’s Stamp at any point in the 35 years before reaching state pension age are being urged to check they aren’t missing out on extra cash via their husband’s National Insurance record.
Until April 1977, married women could opt to pay a reduced rate of National Insurance in the expectation of claiming on their husband’s record.
This was known as the “Married Women’s Stamp”.
However, changes in April 2016 means that now, women get state pension payments based on their own National Insurance record – rather than their husband’s.
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State pension age: Certain women are being urged to check if they paid the Married Woman’s Stamp (Image: GETTY)
In order to get any state pension, an individual must have at least 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record.
For the full new state pension, a person must have 35 qualifying years on their National Insurance record.
Any years between this will mean the state pensioner gets a proportion of the new state pension.
However, there is a special concession for those who paid the Married Woman’s Stamp for at least one year during the 35 years before reaching state pension age, former Pensions Minister Steve Webb said.
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Under the new system, people who paid the stamp during this time are able to get a minimum amount under the new state pension.
If the woman is now widowed or divorced, this is £129.20, while it’s £77.45 (60 percent of the basic state pension) if she’s still married.
According to Government estimates, around 10,000 women could potentially benefit from this concession.
At its peak, in 1977/78, around 4.4 million women paid the reduced stamp.
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An FOI supplied to Royal London in October last year found that there are still around two hundred women in Britain paying National Insurance at the reduced rate.
And, while only a small number of married women are still paying the reduced rate, many millions have done so at some point during their working life.
Royal London is calling on women who receive less than the aforementioned amounts to check to see if they paid the Married Woman’s Stamp at any point in the 35 years up to their retirement.
If they did, they should contact the Pension Service to see if they are entitled to a higher pension.
State pension age: Some women may have paid the Married Woman’s Stamp (Image: GETTY)
Commenting, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London said: “It is amazing that in designing a state pension system in the 21st Century, the government had to include special rules to protect women affected by a rule designed in the 1940s.
“It is not widely known that women who paid the reduced stamp at any point in the 35 years before they retired, and who come under the new state pension system, can claim a minimum payment under the new system.
“If any woman is getting a substantially reduced amount from the new state pension she should check if she paid the reduced stamp and contact the Pension Service if she is in any doubt.”
Are you affected by the state pension changes? If you’d like to share your story, get in touch by emailing [email protected]