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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Special Cases: Married Women: Background: Position up to 5 April 1975: Possible reasons for making an election not to pay

It is worth bearing in mind that many women elected not to pay contributions for avariety of reasons for example:

  • There was a marked difference in the rate of contribution that was paid by a married woman. For example in early 1975 a Class 1 contribution for a woman was 62p a week; an exempt rate contribution was only 4p a week.
  • If the woman worked in an industry where there was inequality between the wages paid to men and to women, or if she was in low paid work, it was financially attractive for the woman to choose not to pay.
  • It was possible in some cases that payment of contributions would not necessarily give the woman entitlement to a retirement pension in her own right. This was because an additional condition, known as the married woman’s half – test, had to be satisfied before such a pension could be paid. The half – test provided that the woman had to have paid contributions in at least half the number of weeks between her date of marriage and the year preceding her 60th birthday. The half – test was not abolished for women born after 6 April 1919 until 6 April 1979.
  • It was possible for a married woman to qualify for a retirement pension by virtue of her husband’s contributions. Such a pension was equal in value to 60% of the husband’s entitlement. In the circumstances many women took the view that there was little advantage to be gained by paying contributions.