Boost Your State Pension with National Insurance Top-Ups

Most of you may already be aware, but if this is something you’ve put off, it’s definitely worth revisiting… and sooner rather than later.

The government has extended the deadline to fill any gaps in your National Insurance record for tax years 2006 to 2016, giving you a golden opportunity to boost your state pension entitlement. Previously set to expire in April 2023, the deadline has been pushed back to April 5th, 2025 and this extension provides more time for those with gaps in their National Insurance record to decide whether to fill them in, potentially increasing their state pension by thousands of pounds.

Why Is the Pension Top-Up Deadline Important?

When the new deadline arrives on April 5th 2025, you will only be able to fill any gaps in the preceding six tax years. This could significantly impact you if you have many ‘missing’ years in your National Insurance record.

To qualify for the full state pension, you need 35 full years of qualifying National Insurance contributions. If you have between 10 and 35 years of contributions, you’ll receive a proportion of the full pension. This means that if you have missing years between 2006/07 and 2018/19, it could be worthwhile to top up your contributions.


How Much Does It Cost to Top Up a National Insurance Year?

Topping up one full year currently costs £824. If you’re plugging a partial year, the cost will be less. For each year you buy, you’ll recoup the cost within three years of retiring. This is because each year you buy adds about £275 to your pension, which over time will really add up.

It’s worth knowing however, that you’ll loss any benefit if you pass away prematurely…i.e. within the 3 years.


EXAMPLE:

Let’s take “Peter” as an example

Peter, 62, an architect, spent five years working abroad between 2006 and 2011. During this time, he didn’t contribute to his UK National Insurance (NI) record. As Peter approached retirement, he realised these five missing years could impact his state pension entitlement. Without these years, he would be unlikely to qualify for the full state pension amount and he decided to look into the cost and benefits of filling these gaps.

Peter learned that topping up one full year currently costs £824. To fill the five missing years, it would cost him approximately £4,120 (5 x £824). By purchasing these missing years, he would add about £1,375 (before tax) to his annual state pension (5 x £275). This increase would significantly improve his retirement income.

Peter calculated his breakeven point, which is the time it would take for his extra pension to cover the cost of purchasing the missing years. With an additional £1,375 per year, he would recoup his investment in about three years (£1,375 x 3 = £4,125). Peter projected his long-term gains. Over 20 years, he would receive an extra £27,500 in today’s money from his state pension, which only cost him about £4,120 to secure.

Moreover, the amount Peter receives will increase each year with the triple lock guarantee (under current rules), providing him with even greater financial security in retirement.


Before You Buy

Before you purchase any missing years, always check if you’re entitled to free credits. This may apply if you were out of work due to childcare responsibilities or illness. Ensuring you utilise any available credits can save you money and still boost your state pension.

Who Should Consider Topping Up?

If you’re 45 or older, and have ever taken time away for example, childcare, working abroad, caring for a parent, etc this is important for you.

This can be a complex area, and everyone’s situation is different. If you think this might apply to you, your first step should be contacting the government’s Future Pension Centre (FPC). They can help you determine if topping up will benefit you. It’s also wise to speak with a financial adviser. This is crucial because in certain circumstances, individuals can identify and fill gaps in their NI contributions record and see no gain from it at all.

How Do You Do a Pension Top-Up?

Here are the steps to follow if you’re considering a pension top-up:

  1. Check Your State Pension Forecast: The quickest way to do this is online through your government gateway at gov.uk/check-state-pension. This will show if you’re on track for the full £185.15 per week and your state pension age.
  2. Review Your National Insurance Record: Once logged in, click ‘view your National Insurance record’ at the bottom of the page to see whether or not you have full years showing for 2006 to 2016. If they show as ‘incomplete,’ you may wish to consider purchasing these missing years before April 5th, 2025.
  3. Contact Future Pension Centre: Call the Government’s Future Pension Centre to get a personalised quote. This will help you find out if paying for extra National Insurance years will increase your state pension entitlement. Once you decide to proceed, they can arrange for your state pension to be topped up.

For those who have already reached state pension age or are in deferment, contact the Government’s Pension Service to discuss your options.

Keep Your Financial Planner Informed

The income you receive from your state pension is a key part of any retirement financial plan, so if you do have a financial planner, keep them updated on your state pension position is important. They can help you navigate this process and make the best decision for your financial future.

Conclusion

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to boost your state pension. Check your National Insurance record and consider topping up your contributions before the April 2025 deadline. For more information, visit HMRC’s website or contact them directly.

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Clarus Wealth  jonathan@claruswealth.co.uk 


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