Prior to 12 May 1977, married women and widows were able to elect to pay reduced Class 1 contributions. Similarly, if self-employed they could elect to pay no Class 2 contributions (although Class 4 contributions remained payable).

Married women and widows who had reduced liability on 12 May 1977 can keep it unless:

in the case of a married women, the marriage ends in divorce or is annulled;

the marriage ends because the woman is widowed, and she does not qualify for widow’s benefits;

widow’s benefit ends, other than on remarriage; or

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