Military spouses National Insurance credits system

Under the new State Pension entitlement conditions, an individual will require 35 qualifying years to receive the full new State Pension when they reach State Pension age (currently the full amount is £155.65 per week).  A minimum of 10 qualifying years are needed to receive any new State Pension. When calculating the new State Pension the National Insurance records of spouses and civil partners are treated independently of each other.  Prior to the introduction of the new State Pension, if someone was married or in a civil partnership and not eligible for the basic State Pension or not getting the full amount, they might have been able to qualify for a top up through their spouse or civil partners record.

As a result, in April 2016 HMRC and DWP introduced the Military spouses National Insurance credits system as part of their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. This new credit allows spouses or civil partners of Armed Forces personnel who are no longer be able to top up their pension using their spouse or civil partners record to claim credits for periods that they accompanied their spouse or civil partner abroad.

For Example:

Jackie was born in 1957.

She will reach state pension age in 2023 when she will be 66 years old.

Jackie married Simon in 1985. Simon was in the army from 1980 to 2000 and will reach State Pension age in 2024 when he will also be aged 66.

Jackie was self-employed as a hairdresser from 1980 – 1985 and so has five qualifying years for State Pension purposes (she paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions during this time).

In 1995, Simon was posted abroad to Cyprus and Jackie decided to close her business and accompany her husband. They were in Cyprus for a period of 5 years from 1995 to 2000.

Therefore Jackie only has five qualifying years from paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions and would fall short of the Minimum Qualifying Period of ten years.

However, Jackie can now apply for the new Military Spouses National Insurance credits (Class 3 credits) for the duration of her accompanied visit to Cyprus from 1995 – 2000, and could gain an additional 5 qualifying years, giving her sufficient credits to satisfy the Minimum Qualifying Period test.

For further information, click here.

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