National Insurance Contributions
If you are a man born after 5 April 1951 or a woman born after 5 April 1953, these changes to the way you top up your qualifying years of national insurance could be detrimental to your state pension amount payable when you reach state pension age.
National insurance (NI) contributions are made by employed and self-employed individuals based on their earnings. To qualify for the maximum ‘new state pension’ (received by those retiring on or after 6 April 2016) a person must have 35 qualifying years of NI contributions. For part payment of the ‘new state pension’ a person must have contributed for at least 10 years.
For those whose NI record started before 6 April 2016, different rules may apply; the number of required years of NI contributions/credits to obtain the full state pension may be higher.
If a person has not contributed enough before reaching state pension age, they may not be able to claim state pension, or receive the full state pension amount.
To help protect state pension and other benefits you can make voluntary NI contributions to top up your contribution history, potentially increasing the amount of state pension you will receive.
As it stands, you can top up any gaps in your national insurance record back to 2006, for a maximum of 16 years, provided you have reached or will reach state pension age after 5 April 2016.
If you reached state pension age on or before 5 April 2016 the maximum number of years you can top up is 6 years.
However, from 31st July 2023, the maximum number of years anyone will be able to make these top ups is for 6 years. So if you have over 6 years of gaps in your national insurance record it would be a good idea to act now!
Checking your Record
If you wish to check your national insurance record, you can do this by logging into your Government Gateway account. If you do not have one of these you can use this link to set one up easily which we also have a handy guide to.
If you do not wish to set up a Government Gateway account, this link also details the other ways to apply for your National Insurance statement.
Arranging a Top Up
There is of course a cost to top up your qualifying years. For 2022/23 this is £824.00 (unless you are self employed then it is £163.80) but this £800 could make a noticeable difference to your state pension. The rate of national insurance varies dependant on the year that you need to top up.
Once you have concluded how many years you wish to top up you will need to contact HMRC on 0300 200 3500 where an HMRC advisor will be able to tell you the overall cost to you to top up the missing years and raise a payment reference number in order to make this payment.
Please note, we recommend you take financial advice when making this decision as, amongst other factors, it requires predicting what contributions will be made before state retirement.
If you would like to find out more, please contact Ashleigh Blundell on or 01634 731390.
The content in this blog is correct as at 07/03/2023. See terms and conditions.
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