State pension: National Insurance record can be ‘topped up’ to potentially increase sum

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Upcoming changes to state pension in 2022

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To get any state pension sum at all, Britons will need 10 qualifying years of National Insurance (NI) contributions. However, if someone is hopeful of getting the full amount, they will need at least 35 qualifying years of contributions. As people approach state pension age, they may find they are lacking in the necessary contributions to receive the sum they are hoping for.

But thankfully, there is a potential way people could close the gap and rectify the shortfall.

Individuals may have National Insurance gaps for a number of reasons, including a career break, or being self-employed with small profits.

Whatever the reason, a person may be able to pay what is known as voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Firstly, a person should check their National Insurance record, and this can be done online via the Government’s website.

It will show a number of aspects, including:

  • If a person has any gaps
  • If a person is eligible to pay voluntary contributions
  • How much these contributions will cost

To pay these contributions, a person must be eligible for the time that the contributions cover.

The Government website explains: “You can usually only pay for gaps in your National Insurance record from the past six years.

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“You can sometimes pay for gaps from more than six years ago, depending on your age.”

People have until April 5 2023 to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps between April 2006 and 2016 if they are:

  • A man born after April 5, 1951
  • A woman born after April 5, 1953

The rates for voluntary contributions differ, and this is important for Britons to note.

In the current tax year, Class 2 contributions are £3.05 per week, while Class 3 contributions are £15.40 per week.

People will usually pay the current rate when they make a voluntary contribution.

They are also directed to the Government website to find out about the specificities of how they should pay. 

If a person is concerned about voluntary contributions or how to make them, they can take action.

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Individuals are encouraged to contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) directly concerning the matter. 

However, Britons should be aware that voluntary contributions do not always increase the state pension.

As a result, individuals should contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if they will benefit from this action. 

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