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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Home Responsibilities Protection: recording and using HRP: basic state pension and bereavement benefits

Sections 21 - 23 and Schedule 3 Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 (“SSCBA 1992”)

Persons who reached State Pension Age prior to 6 April 2010

In simple terms, a qualifying year is a tax year during a person’s working life in which they have paid (or are treated as having paid) the required amount of National Insurance Contributions supplemented by credits, or credited earnings. Most of these credits are linked to benefit entitlement and are awarded by DWP but some, referred to as non-benefit credits, are administered by HMRC. See NIM41010.

For persons who reached pensionable age prior to 6 April 2010, the number of qualifying years required to receive one hundred per cent of the basic State Pension was approximately 90 per cent of the years in their working life. A person’s working life is the period between the tax year in which they reached age 16 and the tax year in which they achieved pensionable age or died under that age (see paragraph 8, Schedule 3, SSCBA 1992).

Because women had a lower state pension age than men, a woman generally required 39 qualifying years in order to receive one hundred per cent of the basic State Pension and a man 44 qualifying years. To receive the minimum amount of the basic State Pension (25%), a person needed to have qualifying years for at least twenty-five per cent of their working life. This equated to 10 years for women and 11 years for men.

For details of changes to the Pension system from 6 April 2010 see NIM41251

HRP protected the pension entitlement of people who were not working or whose wages were low while they were bringing up children or caring for a person with a long-term illness or disability.

HRP did not credit a person with any qualifying years. Instead, HRP worked by reducing (to no less than 20 years),the number of qualifying years required for one hundred per cent of the basic State Pension.

For details of the impact on Additional (State Second) Pension, see NIM41415.