Married Women and Widows


If you are a woman who was married or widowed before 6 April 1977, you could choose:

  • To pay a reduced rate of Class 1 contributions when an employee
  • Not to pay Class 2 contributions when self-employed (although you may still have to pay Class 4 contributions).

Nevertheless, you would have had to have made this choice before 12 May 1977. So you cannot now choose to have what is called "reduced liability".

Please note

Reduced rate Class 1 contributions do not count towards entitlement to any of the following contributory benefits:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit/ESA
  • Basic State Pension
  • Additional State Pension
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance

You may be entitled to a Basic State Pension based on your spouse's or civil partner’s National Insurance Contribution record. The Basic Pension you get will be a percentage of your spouse's or civil partner’s entitlement. Nevertheless, you cannot get this pension until they reach State Pension Age

Reduced Liability for Married Women

If you have reduced liability as a married woman (but not as a widow), you are not entitled to National Insurance credits when, for instance, you are unemployed and sign on at the Job Centre or you are incapable of work because of sickness or disability.

Furthermore, you will not have qualified for Home Responsibilities Protection which was replaced by credits on 6th April 2010. You cannot pay Class 3 contributions for any tax year that you have reduced liability throughout.

If you ‘elected’ to pay at the reduced rate, you can continue to do so until you either apply to pay the full rate again or until the right to pay reduced contributions is automatically lost (for example on divorce or annulment of marriage).