This is an opportunity for people approaching retirement to increase their state pension.
The government has extended the deadline to April 2025 for people to top up their National Insurance contributions.
Previously anyone wishing to do so had until 31 July 2023 to go back as far as 2006/07 - after that date, you will only be able to go back six years. However, due to the large number of enquiries to the Government’s Future Pension Centre telephone helplines the eligibility period has been extended.
Why would I have Gaps?
You may have gaps in your NI record if you did not pay National Insurance or didn’t get NI credits any in any particular year.
This could be because you were:
employed but had low earnings
unemployed and not claiming benefits
self-employed but did not pay contributions because of small profits
living or working outside the UK
errors and/or omissions on your NI record
Why should I check?
Any gaps can mean you will not have enough years of National Insurance contributions to either get the full State Pension (due to an insufficient number of ‘qualifying years’) and/or qualify for some State benefits e.g., Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Support Payment.
How do I check if I have any gaps?
In order to manage your expectations of what you will receive when you reach your State Pension Age we would encourage you to check your NI record to determine if you have a shortfall and if you are eligible to do something about it.
There are two main places you can check your NI record.
- On the DWP’s ‘check state pension’ page, which gives you your full, year-by-year NI record plus a forecast of your state pension.
- On HMRC’s ‘check your national insurance record’ page.
How much will it cost to Top Up?
This depends on when the year(s) in question were missed and the Class of NI contribution you are required to pay.
Why would I want to pay voluntary contributions?
You may want to pay voluntary contributions because:
you’re close to your State Pension age and don’t have enough qualifying years to get the full State Pension
you know you won’t be able to get the qualifying years you need to get the full State Pension during your working life
you’re self-employed, and don’t pay Class 2 NI contributions because you have low profits
you live outside the UK, but you want to qualify for some benefits
How much pension will I get?
Currently each additional qualifying year works out to be an extra £5.82 a week (or £302.64 a year).
If you lived 20 years, the amount you would get back would be over £6,000 for an initial cost of between £179 and £907.
Decide if you want to pay voluntary contributions
Before you pay for any voluntary contributions, it’s a good idea to request a State Pension forecast to get information on your State Pension entitlement.
You can check your State Pension forecast online to find out how much you could get and how you can increase it.
Who can I talk to about this option?
Voluntary contributions do not always increase your State Pension.
If you’re below State Pension age, contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if you’ll benefit from voluntary contributions.
You can contact the Future Pension Centre by telephone: 0800 731 0175.