How to increase your state pension using your husband’s National Insurance record.

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If you haven’t paid enough National Insurance to get a full pension you may be able to claim a pension, worth up to 60% of the full basic state pension, based on your husband’s NI record. But only if you paid the Married Women’s Stamp or reached state pension age before April 6th 2016.

How to increase your state pension using your husband’s National Insurance record

Under the old system, for people who reached state pension age before April 6th 2016, women could use their husband or civil partner’s National Insurance record to increase their state pension. Since April 6th 2016, you can only do this if you paid the Married Women’s Stamp at some point in the last 35 years. Your first stage is to find out the amount of state pension you’re likely to receive when you retire.

You can do this by asking for a pension statement. A state pension statement is something you can apply for online or by phone. You can read more about How to get a state pension statement – and understand it in my article.

Claiming on your husband’s National Insurance record

If you haven’t paid enough National Insurance to receive a full basic state pension in your own right, you can claim on your husband’s (or ex husband’s) National Insurance record. However, if you reached state pension age on or after April 6th 2016, you can only do this if you paid the Married Women’s Stamp at some point in the last 35 years.

If your husband or civl partner is still alive, you’re able to receive a state pension worth 60% of the state pension he is due to receive.

SAVVY TIP: From April 6th 2010, a man has been able to claim on his wife’s NI record and civil partners will be able to claim on each other’s if the wife or civil partner was born after April 6th 1950. In reality, it’s unlikely that many men would be better off claiming on their wife’s NI record, although for some, it may be a help.

If you’re claiming on your husband’s NI record, he must have reached state pension age, although he doesn’t need to have claimed his state pension.

Increasing your state pension if you’re divorced

If you are divorced and your ex husband has a better National Insurance record than you have, you can only use his NI record for your pension if you paid the Married Women’s Stamp at any point in the last 35 years – assuming you reached state pension age on or after April 6th 2016.

If you claim using your ex husband’s National Insurance, it can be calculated either for the tax years up to the tax year in which the marriage ended or the whole of your ex husband’s record up to the date of divorce (whichever gives you the bigger pension).

SAVVY TIP: You can only use your ex husband’s National Insurance record if you don’t remarry before you reach state pension age.

Your ex husband doesn’t have to be told. If you’re using his NI record to claim your pension, he doesn’t have to know about it. Ideally, you should provide his National Insurance number but if you don’t have that, the DWP says it’s not impossible to claim a state pension on your ex’s NI record.

Related articles:

Buying a retirement flat – what to look for

Approaching retirement; how to prepare

How to reduce your tax bill when you take money out of your pension after April 2015

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