“As a stay-at-home mother-of-two whose husband earns above the threshold for child benefit, I have not claimed it since the threshold was introduced. Someone has now told me this will affect my state pension. Is there anything I can do?”
The introduction of the new state pension was the end of ‘Mr & Mrs’ pensions and requires each person to build up their own entitlement to the state pension through national insurance contributions (NICs).
For most people, this happens automatically through payroll with nothing further to do. However, if you stop work to bring up children, you have to register for child benefit in order to receive national insurance credits, which will count towards the 35 years that you need to accumulate to be entitled to the full state pension.
You will only be able to get three months’ back pay of your pension credits
The waters were muddied in January 2013, when the higher income child benefit tax charge was introduced that reduces or removes the financial benefit of receiving child benefit (or of having a partner who receives child benefit) for individuals with a taxable income of more than £50,000 a year.
This has meant many people have not registered for child benefit, as they earned too much to qualify, but if you don’t work and you don’t receive child benefit you won’t receive NI credits. So you need to register, then opt out of receiving child benefit in order to continue to build your state pension entitlement. However, you will only be able to get your credits backdated for the past three months.
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How to register for child benefit
You need to fill out a CH2 form, which you can find at Gov.uk/child-benefit/how-to-claim. You can start claiming as soon as you have registered the birth of your child, and you can backdate your claim by up to three months.
Once your claim has been processed, you should start to receive £20.70 a week for your eldest or only child and £13.70 for additional children.
If you earn more than £50,000 and claim child benefit, you’ll have to pay the high income child benefit charge. You should still register for child benefit so that you receive national insurance credits if you are a stay-at-home parent – but you can choose to opt out of receiving the actual benefit.
This article was originally published in our sister magazine Moneywise, which ceased publication in August 2020.
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