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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Changes to State Pension for married people and civil partners

If you are not entitled to a full basic State Pension, you may be able to increase it. If your spouse/civil partner has some qualifying years from their National Insurance contributions record, you may be able to improve your basic State Pension.

Increased basic State Pensions for spouses and civil partners

You may be able to get a basic State Pension, or increase your basic State Pension, based on your spouse or partner's National Insurance contributions. You could qualify to do this if all of the following apply:

  • you are married or in a civil partnership
  • you are not already entitled to a full basic State Pension
  • your spouse or civil partner was born on or after 6 April 1950
  • your spouse or civil partner qualifies for some basic State Pension
  • you have both reached State Pension age

Plus, for married men or civil partners only, you could qualify if your wife or civil partner was born on or after 6 April 1950.

How much you get will depend on your spouse or partner's National Insurance contributions record. In 2011-12 you could get up to £61.20 a week. This is even if you don't qualify for any State Pension based on your own National Insurance contributions record.

You don't have to live with your spouse or civil partner to get this basic State Pension. And you don't have to wait for them to start claiming their State Pension.

What has changed?
Previously, only married women could get this basic State Pension. Married men and civil partners are now able to do this, as long as they meet the conditions.

Also, a married woman needed to wait until her husband had claimed his own State Pension to get this basic State Pension. Now, she is able to claim it even if he has not claimed his own State Pension. This is provided they have both reached State Pension age. These arrangements apply equally to married men and civil partners.

When will this apply to you?

Both you and your spouse or civil partner must have reached State Pension age.

Also, if you are a married man or civil partner, your wife or civil partner must have been born on or after 6 April 1950. This means that if you are a:

  • married man, you could have qualify from May 2010
  • male civil partner, you could start to qualify from April 2015
  • female civil partner, you could have qualify from May 2010

If you are a married woman, you could benefit regardless of whether your husband was born before, on or after 6 April 1950.

The exact date that applies to you will depend on when both you and your spouse  or civil partner both reach State Pension age.

Do you need to take any action?

Once you and your spouse or civil partner have both reached State Pension age, you may be able to benefit.

Once you have both claimed your own State Pension you should automatically receive any basic State Pension you're entitled to based on your partner's NI.

In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions is working to identify as many other people as possible who can benefit from these rules.

If you have not heard from The Pension Service when you and your partner reach State Pension age you should call The Pension Service.

Call The Pension Service on 0845 060 0265. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

Please remember that increases cannot be paid until you have both reached State Pension age.

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