The UK Rules
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Married Women's Stamp

Married Women and Widows Reduced NI

What are Married Women's Reduced Rate NI Contributions? A married female could pay lower rates of National insurance before April 1977.

THE SMALL STAMP: Back then, the reduced rate for a married woman was often called the 'small stamp'.

It is the reduced rate National Insurance for married women or widows. Use this guide if you need to stop or start paying the 'small stamp' National Insurance.

This reduced rate of National Insurance Contribution is only available to married women or widows who opted-in to the scheme before April 1977.

The standard NI rate for weekly earnings of £162.01 up to £892 is 12%. The married women's small stamp rate is 5.85%.

Contact HMRC to check if you are still opted-in the scheme or to find out how it affects your benefits.

If you are self-employed and currently opted-in to the scheme, you do not need to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

How Married Women's Reduced Rate Affects Benefits

If you opted in to the 'small stamp' scheme, you will receive a reduced State Pension when you retire. But, you may be unable to claim other state benefits. It also means you will not be able to claim some benefits based on your National Insurance contributions.

As a rule you will be entitled to National Insurance credits if you:

Even if you do not get NI credits you may still qualify for:

Increasing Your State Pension

To get an estimate of your pension payments when you retire, you can request a State Pension statement. You can also ask for a National Insurance record. This will show if you have any gaps in your NI contributions.

How to Stop Paying the Reduced Rate (opt-out)

If you opt-out of the reduced rate scheme you cannot opt back in. Use the married women's form CF9 or form CF9A if you are a widow. You can complete the form online but then you should print it and post it to HMRC.

What if Your Circumstances Change?

You will need to opt-out of the reduced National Insurance contributions married female scheme if:

Different rules apply if your husband dies and you may be able to stay in the scheme. Contact HMRC to check if you qualify and for how long it might apply.

Important InformationYou must inform your employer if you opt-out of the scheme. You must also tell HMRC if you are self-employed or lose the right to the reduced rate. Failure to do so could mean you owe unpaid NIC.

Your employer has your 'certificate of election', form CA4139, CF383 or CF380A. They need to complete Part 2 and then return the form to you. You complete Part 1. Post the completed 'certificate of election' to the correct address (see below).

You must immediately register to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions if you are self-employed. You complete Part 1 of the 'certificate of election' and send it to:

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
National Insurance Contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

How to Start Paying Reduced Rate National Insurance

To start paying the reduce rate you must have already joined the scheme before April 1977 and still be eligible. If you want to claim the reduced rate NIC and have a current 'certificate of election', form CA4139, CF383 or CF380A, pass this to your employer.

If you do not have a 'certificate of election' and you are married, you should complete form CF9. Widows should use form CF9A.

Married Women and Widows Entitled to Pay Reduced National Insurance in the United Kingdom