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Married Women and Widows Reduced NI

What are married women's reduced rate National Insurance contributions? A married female could opt in to the scheme before it ended in April 1977 to pay lower rates of National Insurance.

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

The people paying reduced rate National Insurance were married women or widows. Use this guide if you need to stop or start paying the ‘small stamp’ National Insurance.

Reduced rates of National Insurance contribution was available to married women or widows who opted in to the scheme before April 1977.

The standard NI rate for weekly earnings of £190 up to £967 is 13.25%. But, the married women’s small stamp rate is 7.1%.

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, 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. You may also be unable to claim certain state benefits. They are the benefits based on National Insurance contributions.

Even so, as a general rule you will have entitlement to get National Insurance credits if:

Even if you do not qualify for National Insurance credits you may still be eligible 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 Married Women’s Reduced Rate National Insurance

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, you should print it off and post it to HM Revenue and Customs (see the address below).

What if Your Circumstances Change?

You will need to opt out of the female reduced rate National Insurance scheme if:

  • You get divorced.
  • You have been self-employed for the last two (2) tax years.
  • For the last two tax years, your earnings were below the Lower Earnings Limit. The rates and allowances are currently set at £123 per week.

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.

Note: You 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 NI. Failure to do so could mean you owe unpaid NIC.

Informing Your Employer

Your employer has your ‘certificate of election’, form CA4139, CF383, or CF380A. They would need to complete Part 2 and then return the form to you. You should 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. In this case, you should 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

Start Paying Reduced Rate National Insurance for Married Women

You can start paying the reduced rate NI if you already joined the scheme before April 1977 and you still qualify.

If you want to claim reduced rate NIC and have a current ‘certificate of election’, form CA4139, CF383, or form CF380A, pass it on 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 for the same process.

Married Women and Widows Entitled to Pay Reduced National Insurance