Reduced Rate National Insurance Contributions for Married Women


Through the National insurance (NI) scheme employed people make payments towards benefits. These payments are referred to as national insurance contributions and certain benefits are only payable if an individual meets the NI contribution conditions. National insurance contributions (NICs) also go towards the costs of the National Health Service (NHS), and the national insurance scheme is administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). For an individual to claim a benefit or tax credit, he / she will need a national insurance number; this applies even if it is not an advantagewhich relies on national insurance contributions. An individual will also need to provide a national insurance number in other circumstances, such as, when an individual gets a new job.

National insurance contributions for married women


A national insurance number (NINO) is a unique number for each individual and is used to keep track of theNI contributions and the benefits which an individual receives. The NI number is made up of two alphabet, six numbers and then followed by an alphabet, for example, AB123456C. An individual must keep the NI number safe and not let anyone else use the number.

For a young person, under 16, living in the UK, - if his / her parentsare entitled to Child Benefit, then the individual will automatically be registered for NI, and a number will be sent to them just before their 16th birthday. In case an individual does not receive a number automatically, they can contact the NI Registrations Helpline on 0300-200-3502 or on the text-phone 0300-200-3519 for advice. In case parents are claiming the Child Benefit, in order to keep away from the High Income Child Benefit tax charge, an individual should still get a national insurance number. However, an individual does not have a legal right to a NI, but he / she is legally obliged to apply for one when they start working, or in order to claim benefit.


As employees, some married women pay a reduced rate of National Insurance. The reduced rate is 5.85% of the weekly earnings between £155.01 and £827.00. No new elections are permitted and it is only likely to affect women who applied on or before 11 May 1977. It is imperative to check if the election is still appropriate and valid. If a woman is re-married, divorced or taken a career break, this could affect theNational Insurance liability as the election to pay reduced rate National Insurance may have lapsed.As a result of the election, a woman could be losing benefit rights and in case the election has lapsed the person could be running up a National Insurance debt.

If an individual decided to pay reduced contributions, they can pay a lower rate of Class 1 NI and, if they are self-employed, they don’t have to pay Class 2 contributions. However, this means that an individual cannot get contributory benefits and might get less state Retirement Pension at the time of retirement. HMRC (NI contributions office) can give advice about how paying reduced contributions affects the state Retirement Pension. A married woman can choose to start paying contributions at the standard rate by getting in touch with HMRC (NI contributions) office and some women with low earnings, who give up the reduced rate, can be treated as paying full rate contributions without paying anything.

Lost benefit rights

For a married woman, the reduced rate of National Insurance gives a right to only a 60% fundamental retirement pension based on the husband’s contributions. It does not give a right to causative benefits or a state pension in one’s own right. Since the election was made long ago, it might be possible that some women have forgotten about the election andthe result can be an unpleasant surprise on retirement, or if the need arises to claim a causative benefit. Anyone who thinks this could be a possible situation must look at detailed guidance on the HMRC website.


Class 1: NI contributions count towards contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, contributory Employment and Support Allowance,Incapacity Benefit, State Retirement Pension, Bereavement Benefits, and Maternity Allowance

Class 2: Contributions count towards the similar benefits as Class 1, except that Class 2 will not typically count towards contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Class 3: Count towards bereavement benefits and State Pension

Class 4: Contributions do not count towards any benefits. However, an individual still has to pay these if they are self-employed and make profits over a certain threshold


The below mentioned table shows the amount deducted by employers from employees ’ pay for tax year 2016-17

Category letter £112-£155 per week or £486-£672 per month £155.01-£827 per week or £672.01-£3,583 per month Over £827 per week or £3,583 per month
A 0% 12% 2%
B 0% 5.85% 2%
H 0% 12% 2%
J 0% 2% 2%
M 0% 12% 2%
Z 0% 2% 2%

The above table can be better explained with an example. For an employee ‘X’ who is in category A and earns £1,200 in a week, the computation will be:

  • No amount payable for the initial £155
  • Between £155.01 and £827.00 @12% = [£672.00 *12% =£80.64]
  • On the remaining earnings above £827 @2% = [£373.00 * 2%  = £7.46]

Hence, an employee’s National Insurance payment, for the week, will be £88.10


The below mentioned table shows the amount an employer pays towards employees’ National Insurance for tax year 2016-17

Category letter £112-£156 per week or £486-£676 a month £156.01-£827 per week or £676.01 to £3,583 a month Over £827 per week or £3,583 a month
A 0% 13.8% 13.8%
B 0% 13.8% 13.8%
C 0% 13.8% 13.8%
H 0% 0.0% 13.8%
J 0% 13.8% 13.8%
M 0% 0.0% 13.8%
Z 0% 0.0% 13.8%


Employers use NI category letter to work out how much they both need to contribute. Most employees have category letter A. Employees can find the category letter on their pay-slip

Category letter Employee group
A All employees except those in groups B, C, J, H, M and Z
B Widows and married women. They are entitled to pay reduced NI
C Employees above the State Pension age
H Apprentice under 25
J Employees who can defer NI as they are already paying it in another job
M Employees under 21
Z Employees under 21 who can defer NI because they' re already paying it in another job


Until April 1977, married women had an option to choose to pay reduced rate of National Insurance (occasionally referred to as the ‘small stamp’). The reduced rate is 5.85% for weekly earnings between £155.01 and £827.0 (as an alternative of the standard rate of 12%) for employed individuals. An individual won’t more often than not get National Insurance (NI) credits unless: she is a widow; avails Child Benefit for a child under 12; and is taking care of someone who’s sick or disabled. Once an individual gives up the right to pay the reduced rate, she cannot claim it again. In case of a widow, fill in form CF9, and send it to HMRC at:

National Insurance contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs
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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.

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About the author
Blog Author

Sumit Agarwal
Sumit Agarwal (ACMA ACA India), the Managing partner of dns accountants is a highly respected accountant with expertise in helping owner-managed businesses.


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