Special Cases: Married Women: Position from 6 April 1977: General
Regulations 126-139, SS(C)R 2001
Social Security Pensions Act 1975
The Social Security Pensions Act 1975 and associated regulations took away the right ofa married woman to elect to pay reduced rate Class 1 contributions and not to pay Class 2contributions where she married on or after 6 April 1977. The Act laid down that -
- a woman married on or after 6 April 1977 cannot elect to pay reduced rate Class 1 contributions or elect not to pay Class 2 contributions while self-employed;
- a woman married before 6 April 1977 can keep her right to pay reduced rate contributions if she made the choice before 12 May 1977;
- a womans right to reduced liability ends if she cancels or is treated as having cancelled her election, her marriage ends by divorce or annulment or she fails the 2 year test, see NIM30004;
- a woman with full liability at the end of the tax year in which she reaches age 59 retains full liability until age 60;
- from 6 April 1978, a married woman over age 60 is not liable for contributions on earnings for periods after that age whatever her pension position is;
- a woman who is divorced after 5 April 1977 cannot continue to have reduced liability even if she re-marries in the same tax year; and
- an election made or deemed to be made under the Social Security Act 1975 counts as an election under the Social Security Pensions Act.
Liability for contributions
A married woman has the same liability as a single woman if she was married on or after6 April 1977 (except some widows who remarry on or before 6 April 1977 see NIM31000) but did not elect to have reduced liability by 11 May1977. If a woman who was married before 6 April 1977 has a reduced rate election or deemedelection, then for any period covered by the election she is
- liable for primary Class 1 contributions at the reduced rate;
- not liable for Class 2 contributions; and
- not allowed to pay Class 3 contributions.
A woman with an election must pay standard rate contributions if -
- she cancels her election, referred to in the regulations as revocation; or
- her election lapses under the 2 year test (see NIM30004 & NIM30005). That is, since 6 April 1978 there are two consecutive tax years during which she;
- had no earnings on which Class 1 NICs were payable or are treated as paid (see NIM01007); or
- was not self-employed during that period; or
- her marriage ends by divorce or annulment.
A woman who cancelled her election before 6 April 1983 could pay standard ratecontributions only from the beginning of the next tax year following that in which anystandard rate contributions were first wrongly paid.