Can I claim my late husband's state pension? I paid the married woman's stamp

19 February 2020


My husband died in July 2017 aged 68 in receipt of a full state pension. We married in 1973 and I worked full-time until 1977. I am 64.

I read online that I may be entitled to some of his state pension if I paid the married woman’s stamp before 1977. Is this so, and if it is how do I find out? I have done an online pension forecast for myself that at present comes up at £168.60.

MV/via email


From your email, it appears that your husband reached state pension age before April 2016 but you have not reached state pension age yet.

There was a concession when the new state pension was introduced in April 2016, but it was for women who paid the married woman’s stamp after 1977.

The concession was that it was possible to increase the amount of basic state pension if the woman’s basic state pension is less than £129.20 per week and where the late husband had enough National Insurance contributions to qualify for a full state pension. Unfortunately, I do not think this applies to you as you stopped paying the married woman’s stamp in 1977. 

As your state pension forecast is for £168.60, it appears that your National Insurance record takes you over £129.20 per week anyway.

For general information, when this applies, the increase happens when you are widowed or when you claim your state pension, whichever is later. It is also important to note that this increase does not apply if you were widowed before state pension age and you remarried (or formed a new civil partnership) before you reached state pension age.

You may be entitled to inherit half of any SERPS pension that your late husband was receiving when he died.

Michelle Cracknell is the former chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service

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