If you are planning to claim the UK state pension, you should make sure to check your national insurance (NI) record before 31 July 2023. Your NI record consists of your NI contributions and credits, which in turn will affect your state pension entitlement (along with other benefits). NI contributions are paid by individuals who are either employed and earning over £242 per week; or self-employed and making a profit of over £11,908 per year. People who do not earn above the threshold to pay NI contributions may be eligible for NI credits, so that they can still qualify for UK state pension.
At the moment, if you have gaps in your NI record, you are allowed to make voluntary contributions dating back to April 2006. However, this is an extended time frame which is set to end on 31st July 2023, as it returns to six years. This means that for the 2023/24 tax year, you will only be able to make voluntary contributions going back to the 2017/18 tax year.
To qualify for the maximum ‘new state pension’, which is received by anyone retiring on or after 6th April 2016, an individual must have 35 years of NI contributions on their record. To receive part payment of the ‘new state pension’, a minimum 10 years of NI contributions are required. If your NI record started before 6th April 2016, you may be subject to different rules, for example a higher number of required years of contributions or credits in order to receive the full state pension.
I think my NI record is wrong, what should I do?
It’s important that you keep informed about your NI record so that, when you eventually claim your state pension, you’re not caught out. If your NI record suggests that you’re not on track to receive the full state pension, then it may be beneficial to pay voluntary NI contributions to compensate for this.
You should also make sure to check that your NI record shows contributions paid through PAYE or self assessment, and any credits earned. If this isn’t correct, then you should get in touch with HMRC to have any errors corrected.
ICAEW have shared a suggested checklist for actions to take before 31st July 2023:
- Check your NI record
- Identify any inconsistencies in the NI contributions you’ve paid compared to those showing on HMRC’s system
- Identify any missing NI credits from periods in which you should have received them
- Identify any shortfalls in your NI contributions
- Contact HMRC as soon as possible if you find any errors
- Decide whether you should make voluntary contributions.
How can I view any shortfall?
You can check your NI record by logging on to GOV.UK. This will enable you to see a list of contributions, detailing where you have made a full contribution and where there is a shortfall (including the value of that shortfall).
To find out more about how filling gaps can affect your state pension, you can also contact the Future Pension Centre.
*Note: The deadline was previously 5 April 2023, but an extension to 31 July was announced on 7 March 2023