Thursday, 14 April 2016

New National Insurance Credits for Service spouses and civil partners to help protect your future State Pension

From 6 April 2016, spouses and civil partners of Service personnel will be able to apply for a new type of National Insurance (NI) credit to protect their State Pension.

The new Class 3 NI credits have been introduced  in recognition of the fact that accompanying on deployment overseas may have affected a Service spouse or civil partner’s ability to work and pay NI contributions. This could potentially result in a gap in their NI record and could affect the amount of State Pension they receive in retirement.

The new DWP credits have been taken forward under the Armed Forces Covenant, which states that members of the Armed Forces and their families should receive fair treatment from the nation which they serve. More information about the Armed Forces Covenant can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/armed-forces-covenant.

It is estimated that this could benefit up to 20,000 individuals, ensuring that they do not miss out on their State Pension.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“We are making sure that military spouses and partners who spend time based overseas get the State Pension they deserve. This is the latest step under the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that service personnel and their families are treated fairly.”
Am I eligible to apply for the new credits?
Service spouses and civil partners will be eligible to apply for the new Class 3 NI credits if they:
• Reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means they were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man); and
• Are or have been married to /in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
• Have accompanied their spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
• At the time of the posting their spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance
You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad.

Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits. For example, you may not have a gap if you:

• were working in a job during the accompanied assignment where you paid UK NI contributions
• were self-employed and paying self-employed Class 2 NI contributions throughout the accompanied assignment
• received certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (previously called Incapacity Benefit or Invalidity Benefit) or Child Benefit for the whole of the accompanied assignment(s)outside the UK

To find out how much your State Pension is worth, and to check whether there are any gaps in your NI record for the periods you were overseas, you can use an online tool on GOV.uk called ‘Check your State Pension’(www). See related links.

How do I apply?
You can apply for the new Class 3 NI credits anytime from 6 April 2016. There is no time limit in applying for the credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age any increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application.
For information about applying for the new Class 3 credit visit
www.gov.uk/dwp/ni-credits-armed-forces-partners
The Class 1 NI Credit: A wider range of benefits for deployments since April 2010
The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to new State Pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits (to be replaced for new claimants by Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017).

More information
Further information about NI credits for Service spouses and civil partners is available online at www.gov.uk/dwp/ni-credits-armed-forces-partners.
For more information about the New State Pension, visit
www.gov.uk/new-state-pension