Act now to boost your State Pension?
You have until the 5th April 2025 to fill in missing national insurance contributions, which could make a difference to your retirement.
Normally, you can fill in gaps going back six years, but until the 5th April 2025, those who reached or will reach state pension age after April 2016 can fill in gaps dating back to 2006-07, meaning that you can make up for a total of 16 years of missed contributions.
The official retirement age
You receive your state pension when you reach the Government’s official retirement age. When this is will depend on when you were born. It is increasing to 67 for men and women by April 2029, with a further rise to 68 expected between 2037 and 2039. Although recently there has been discussion about bringing this forward to save money.
Buy ‘extra’ pension years
If you’ve had a career break, a low income or worked abroad, you may not have paid national insurance. new state pension rules, you need 35 qualifying years for a full rate pay-out. If you’ve spare savings, it’s possible to replace some missing NI qualifying years. This could lead to a significant increase in your basic state pension pay-out over your retirement. In a nutshell, you pay a one-off lump sum to buy a higher state pension sum. Assuming you live long enough, the extra cash you earn from a higher weekly state pension could be worth £1,000s over a lifetime. However, they need to be considered carefully.
How to check that you are on track
- Request a state pension forecast from gov.uk to see how much you are on track to receive and at what age you will get it. It should also advise you if there is anything you can to do to increase the amount.
- Call the Future Pension Service helpline on 0800 731 0175 to make sure filling in gaps in your national insurance record will boost your pension. It is worth double-checking – as always with pensions – there are some tricky rules!
- If you top up your national insurance contributions by paying HMRC online or by cheque or bank transfer, include your national insurance number as a reference. For help, call the national insurance helpline on 0300 200 3500.
To determine whether it’s worthwhile, see how many NI years you already have. If gov.uk shows you’ll receive £185.15 per week, then this is a full pension, and you don’t need to do anything.
Is it worth it?
The rate is £15.85 per missing week of NI contributions – £824.20 for a full year. Paying £8,242 to make up a ten-year gap could give you an additional £2,750 a year – this would be worth £55,000 extra over a 20-year retirement without taking inflation into account. So, if you live at least four years after retiring you’ll earn back what you paid, which is an investment return very hard to find elsewhere!
By Philip Harper | February 2023
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