§ Mr. Joel Barnett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why a married woman who wishes to make herself eligible for a full pension by making up arrears of national insurance contributions is prevented from doing so for other than the last five years; why, as in the case brought to his attention by the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton, married women are not told the full consequences of paying the small national insurance contribution; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Dean:
In order to count for retirement pension, contributions paid before pension age must in general be paid before the end of the sixth contribution year following that in which they were due, the limits being more restrictive after pension age. Special provisions apply to married women, however. If they are insured they can choose whether 39W to pay contributions or not. They can change an option but the change normally operates only from the time it is made. These provisions are necessary to prevent payment of contributions being delayed until the event against which insurance cover was sought had occurred. Arrangements are made to inform married women of the effects of paying and not paying contributions before they make an option and before they change it. The small contribution is the industrial injuries insurance contribution paid by employed persons, and this is not optional. I am having inquiries made into the particular case which the Member has raised with me and I will write to him when these have been completed.