National Insurance credits and DWP

Image illustrating National Insurance credits and DWP

We are seeing more and more cases coming forward in reference the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and National Insurance (NI) credits. So with this in mind, I have collated some useful information to help. By Ken Wood RAF FF Evidence Assistant.

Information for spouses and civil partners of serving personnel

If you can’t work because you have accompanied your Serving partner on a posting overseas, you won’t be able to keep up your NI payments which could affect your future State Pension entitlements. Fortunately you can use spousal NI credits to fill in the gaps on your payment record by applying using a form called MODCA1.

National Insurance Credits

You may be able to get NI credits if you’re married to, or are the civil partner of someone who is serving in the Armed Forces and you go with them on an overseas posting.

You can still apply if you’re now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved. You must have been married or in a civil partnership at the time of the posting.

Credits can help to fill gaps in your NI record and can help towards you qualifying for certain benefits including the State Pension.

There are two classes of NI credits available to apply for:

• Class 1: For postings on or after 6 April 2010 – these count towards your State Pension and may help you qualify for some other benefits, for example new style Jobseeker’s Allowance and new style Employment and Support Allowance.
• Class 3: For postings on or after 6 April 1975 – these count towards your State Pension only.

Information on both classes can be found online.

Please note: You cannot get credits for any postings overseas before 6 April 1975.

When to apply for Class 1 Credits

You should apply before the end of the tax year following the tax year when the posting ended. A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April.

For example, for a posting that ended between 6 April 2018 and 5 April 2019 you should apply for Class 1 credits by 5 April 2020.

You can apply if:
• You are still overseas but are due to return to the UK
• You have recently returned to the UK and not passed the time limit for applying

Applying for Class 3 credits

For postings on or after 6 April 1975 there is no time limit to apply for these Class 3 NI credits.

You can apply if:
• You were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man)
• Married to or the civil partner of a member of the armed forces
• You went with them on an overseas posting on or after 6 April 1975

Note: Check if you can apply for a Class 1 credit before applying for a Class 3 credit. The Class 1 credit can give you eligibility to a wider range of benefits. You cannot get Class 1 credits and Class 3 credits for the same time.

Who might not get Class 3 credits

You might not be entitled to Class 3 credits if:
• Your husband, wife or civil partner was not part of the UK NI scheme at the time of the posting, for example some members of regiments recruited
overseas, such as the Gurkhas
• You are a married woman or widow and you had chosen to pay a reduced rate of NI.

DWP and the Armed Forces Covenant

As part of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has initiatives that help current and former Armed Forces
personnel and your families access Jobcentre Plus services.

This includes having an Armed Forces Champion in every Jobcentre Plus district who ensures that they provide support that meets your needs.
We at the RAF Families Federation would suggest that if you have any DWP issues to request the support of the District Armed Forces Champion.

Armed Forces Champion

The Armed Forces champion provides Jobcentre Plus support to:
• Veterans
• Service leavers
• Serving personnel within their resettlement period
• Spouses and civil partners of serving and ex-service personnel

Champions maintain close contact with Jobcentre Plus staff, who make the champion aware of Armed Forces issues and raise with them if you request it. Champions are not always based in the Jobcentre.

The role of the Armed Forces Champion includes:
• To be the first point of contact for Jobcentre Plus staff and services welfare and families staff to advise on queries regarding individual Armed Forces cases – including serving personnel, families and veterans
• Focus specifically on the Jobcentre Plus support available to veterans, service leavers, those within a resettlement period and spouses and civil partners of Serving and ex- Service personnel – where necessary and appropriate, the champions will work to put support in place

You can tell your champion about an issue through your local Jobcentre Plus office, the RAF Families Federation can always find out who your champion is for you if needed.

Further information:

DWP and the Armed Forces Covenant
Armed Forces Covenant
Jobcentre Plus

Reference Source: GOV.UK

This article is included in the Spring edition of Envoy magazine – the free magazine for RAF personnel and your families too. You can sign up online to have your own copy sent to your home (quarterly).

2020 Spring Envoy

Top image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

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