BENEFITS EXPERT: Your pension and NI queries answered

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I am a single 73-year-old lady living alone in my own property. My income is State Pension of £154.60 a week plus a works pension of £296.50 a month. Are there any benefits I could be missing out on?

You might qualify for a Council Tax reduction, depending upon how much Council Tax you pay and what savings you have.

If your savings are under £10,000 your Council Tax would be reduced to £590 a year.

You would get progressively less help as your savings rise above £10,000, and no help at all if you have over £16,000.

But even with savings of £16,000 exactly you would have to pay no more than £715 a year.

My 28-year-old son, who has learning difficulties, only works 18 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage. He does not earn enough to pay National Insurance (NI) and not contributing means no pension when he retires.

I have made enquiries but just get told he can make contributions at around £13/£14 a week.

Surely this is too much for such a low earner? I cannot find answers.

Even when I ask where payments can be made, I just get told that I can find the information on the website. Can you help?

People have to be earning more than £155 a week before they have NI Contributions deducted from their wages.

However, people who earn between £112 and £155 a week are treated as though they had paid NI but do not actually have to pay anything.

If your son works 18 hours a week for the National Minimum Wage of £6.50 an hour his weekly earnings will be £117.

So he is earning enough to be in exactly the same position as regards his NI record and State Pension entitlement as if he was really paying.

That being said, I think it would be as well if HM Revenue and Customs were contacted to ensure that his record is being maintained.

ou can phone their Helpline on 0300 200 3500.

I am 82 and receive a State Pension of £125 a week based on my husband’s NI ‘stamps’ when he was working.

I also worked from 1949 to 1965 and wonder if I should receive anything on my own behalf for the ‘stamps’ I paid during that time.

Many people will qualify for a State Pension based upon their own National Insurance and will also qualify for one based upon their spouse’s contributions.

However, the rules do not allow for one pension to be paid on top of the other.

They can only receive whichever of the two is the greater.