Claim child benefit to preserve state pension entitlement

To qualify for the full state pension you must have 35 full qualifying years of national insurance (NI) contributions. There are two types of NI credit, Class 1 and Class 3. Class 1 credits count towards the state pension and some contribution based benefits. Class 3 credits only count towards the state pension.

Parents who are registered for child benefit for a child under 12 receive Class 3 credits automatically. These count towards the state pension, so if you are a stay at home parent, or work part time but not earning enough to pay NI, you can continue to build up your state pension entitlement.

When the High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced (this is where child benefit is reduced when the highest earning partner earns £50,000 or more), many parents didn’t register for child benefit. For the partner who works part time or is a stay at home parent then they are not receiving Class 3 credits to count towards their state pension.

Even if you or your partner are earning more than £50,000, then it is still advisable to claim child benefit. If you don’t want to receive the benefit, to avoid having to pay it back then you can opt to stop receiving it (by completing an online form). If your circumstances change then you can restart the child benefit payments.

Please note that child benefit claims can only be backdated for three months so don’t delay if this affects you.

For advice there is a child benefit helpline on 0300 200 3100,