Impact of Married Women's NI stamp versus HRP

I would like your comments on my circumstances which I describe below – I cannot believe that I am the only retired married woman to be in this situation:

  • I was born in May 1949 and started working in 1966
  • I paid the reduced married women’s NI stamp from 1977 to 1985
  • Only now do I understand that the reduced stamp did not contribute years to my state pension
  • The government brought the reduced stamp out in 1977 and abolished it in 1979 but did not advertise this and allowed women to continue contributing at the reduced rate with no pension benefit
  • I believe that I should have qualified for a full pension credit through child benefit while bringing up a family over the same period (my two daughters were born in 1971 and 1974)
  • It seems that by working and paying my tax and the reduced NI stamp, the HRP to which I would have been entitled if I had not worked has been lost.  Surely this is not fair
  • I qualified for HRP from 1995 to 2005 (through my third child who was born in 1988)
  • I reached retirement age in May 2009 and was invited by the DWP to pay six back years of NI, which I did.  I was not told that I had already qualified through HRP for 2003 and 2004 so I have paid unnecessarily for those years

I have tried several times to get this addressed by both the DWP and HMRC to no avail, including requesting a managerial callback from HMRC three times, but again no contact.

In Dec-23 I received two letters from the HMRC.

The first on 7-Dec-23 says I have HRP for my NI record for the periods:

                6-Apr-78 to 20-Sep-93

                30-Jan-95 to 20-Sep-04

                5-Jul-04 to 28-Mar-05

This is correct as I was with my husband overseas from Sep-93 to Jan-95.

The second on 12-Dec-23 says that “You cannot have HRP for a tax year when you have a married women’s reduced election on your NI record”.  The letter states that the period in question is 6-Apr-1977 to 1-Sep-85.  It goes on to say that , “For the tax years 6-Apr-03 to 5-Apr-05 no HRP is awarded”.  You will note that this does not align with the first letter.  This is why I have requested a managerial call which has never materialised.

I would be grateful for any comments on the merits of my case and publicise it on behalf of other women who have been affected by the reduced stamp versus HRP.  The government has acted in an unjust manner by not explaining the consequences of selecting the reduced stamp and its relationship to HRP, allowing it to continue even when abolished for new joiners, and I was asked to pay NI for two years for which I had already qualified.

Thank you


Comments

  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 7,729 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Unless they have changed the rules then if you were paying the reduced rate as the last form of NI before claiming child benefit then no you wouldn't have got the credit.  I was lucky as my employer advised against paying the reduced rate.  Many employers just put women on the lower rate without really asking.  As for the years you paid & didn't need to I believe some have been able to claim them back so may be worth a try.
  • Silvertabby
    Silvertabby Posts: 9,010 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    edited 18 February at 3:08PM
    My late aunt always regretted paying the married woman's stamp, but as the NI reduction was the difference between paying or not paying their mortgage then she felt she had no alternative.  However, she did say that the declaration she had to sign made it quite clear that her reduced NI wouldn't count towards her own State pension, and that she would only be able to coat-tail on her husband's contributions once HE reached SPA.  

    I don't think employers would have been able to move women onto the lower rate without the declaration/option form.  But... when a friend got married in the early 1970s, our already married work colleagues said that she HAD to get herself up to the pay office, because "married women don't pay the full stamp".  My friend, who had done her research, said that she was going to continue to pay full NI because she wanted a full State pension.


  • McKneff
    McKneff Posts: 38,819 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    The form did not say that paying the MW stamp did no affect pension, it did and listed other things that it affected benefit wise but being 18, newly married, baby on the way and bills to pay it was a no brainer to a naive teenager. It should have been explained, not just a form to sign. 
    I paid enough full stamps for 50% SP but it was explained when I retired that I could claim 60% from my hubby's contributions a difference of a few pounds a week, but still welcome

    And that's where we are today...
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • millie
    millie Posts: 1,442 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I have put a claim in for HRP. I returned to work part time when my youngest was 2 and because I had not worked for more than 2 consecutive tax years I lost the right to pay at the reduced rate. Any NI that I did pay was at the full rate. Most years it was only a small amount , not enough to qualify for a full year. I would have thought as I had lost the right to pay the reduced rate and any contributions I did pay were at full rate  I should have been covered by HRP. It would put a further 11 years on to my pension. I only put the claim in 10 days ago so I have not had a reply as of yet.
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,594 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    McKneff said:
    The form did not say that paying the MW stamp did no affect pension, it did and listed other things that it affected benefit wise but being 18, newly married, baby on the way and bills to pay it was a no brainer to a naive teenager. It should have been explained, not just a form to sign. 
    I paid enough full stamps for 50% SP but it was explained when I retired that I could claim 60% from my hubby's contributions a difference of a few pounds a week, but still welcome

    And that's where we are today...
    The world was a different place then - and hindsight is always a wonderful thing. Cash now, rather than in 40+ years time...you'd have done the same thing whatever anyone said to you. 
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
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