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Telling Social Security if you divorce or separate

​​It is important for our records that we are kept up to date with any changes in circumstances.

You must let us know as soon as possible:

  • the date on which you and your husband / wife separated
  • the date of your divorce - bring in or send your decree absolute
  • any change of address

Effect on benefits

If you are claiming a benefit or pension that includes an increase for your wife you must tell the department when you separate or divorce. If you are separated your benefit may be changed depending on the maintenance agreement with your wife.

Effect on contributions

If you are separating or divorcing, you will need to review your Social Security contribution position. 

Women who were married before 1 April 2001 may have elected not to pay contributions. When the decree absolute is granted this election is no longer valid and must be cancelled. You are then liable to pay contributions.

If you are employed your employer will be holding your Registration card, you need to ask for it back so that you can bring it to us as it may have to be changed.

​If you are self employed or not working you still need to bring in your Registration card so we can ensure you are holding the correct one.

Registration cards (for work and housing)

Home responsibility credits

If you stay at home to look after a child under the age of five, you may be entitled to home responsibility credits. These credits protect your entitlement to a pension.

Note: Home responsibility credits do not give entitlement to incapacity or maternity benefits.

Caring for a child at home - Home Responsibility Protection

Income Support

Income Support is an income-related benefit that provides financial support towards the costs of housing, living, medical needs and childcare.  Carers also receive support. 

Income Support

Benefits and women who have recently divorced

To be able to claim certain benefits (for example incapacity benefit) you need to have paid contributions. There are special arrangements to help a recently divorced woman qualify for benefit even though she has not paid contributions.

Under these special arrangements if you fall ill or have an accident within six months of the decree absolute you may be able to claim benefit. To find out more contact the Health Zone.

​If you are in receipt of a pension you may be able to claim an increase. Staff in the Pension Zone will be happy to advise you.

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