On 6 April 2016, the National Insurance (NI) credit to protect the state pension of spouses and civil partners of Service personnel was backdated to 1975. Read more
This means that if you were posted overseas between 1975 and 2010 you could benefit.
Class 3 NI credits were introduced under the Armed Forces Covenant in recognition that overseas postings can affect the ability of the spouse to work and pay NI contributions, leaving many with a gap that can affect the amount of state pension you receive in retirement.
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.”
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 pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits.
AFF in Action
However, AFF is aware that for some spouses, whose time abroad did not correspond with the UK financial year - April to April - there may be a gap in entitlement. We are also looking further into claims that those who’ve served in Norther Ireland are unable to claim for that period.
Am I eligible to apply?
Service spouses and civil partners are eligible to apply for Class 3 NI credits if you:
- reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means you were born on or after 6 April 1953 (for women) or 6 April 1951 (for men); and
- are or have been married to/in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
- have accompanied your spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
- at the time of the posting your 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.
To find out how much your State Pension is worth, and to check whether there are any gaps in your NI record for the period you were overseas, visit GOV.uk. and search ‘Check your State Pension’.
How do I apply?
You can apply for 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, increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application.
For more information, click here.
Jobseeker's Allowance for spouses/civil partners of Service personnel returning from overseas assignment
If your family is returning from overseas, find out about ensuring you are not disadvantaged when claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant. Click here to read more.