Those wishing to plug gaps in their National Insurance contribution record going back as far as 2006 now have until April 2025 to do so, thanks to a recent deadline extension. The rules regarding how far back you can go were set to change in April 2023, only allowing people to pay to fill National Insurance gaps going back as far as six years. However, the deadline has now been extended, meaning people can continue filling National Insurance gaps as far back as 2006, with the rule set to change in April 2025.
A statement on the GOV.UK website confirmed that 'tens of thousands of people have taken advantage to pay voluntary contributions to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)' and 'the revised deadline is expected to enable tens of thousands more to do the same'.
Laura Trott, Minister for Pensions, Department for Work and Pensions, said "I am pleased to see so many people taking steps to review their State Pension, which is why we have extended the deadline for customers to add extra years to their National Insurance record ".
How do you qualify for the new state pension?
To qualify for the new state pension, you typically need a minimum of 10 National Insurance contribution years, but to receive the full new state pension, you'll likely require around 35 qualifying years. The exact number of years depends on your age and National Insurance (NI) record. For individuals who began their NI contributions prior to 2016, it's possible that they may need 40 or more National Insurance years. We provide a more detailed explanation in our article titled, 'Will I get a state pension?'.
There is a system available to address gaps in your NI record, allowing people to voluntarily pay to fill those gaps with the aim of boosting their new state pension. Prior to the deadline extension, people only had until April 2023 if they wanted to fill National Insurance gaps as far back as 2006, however, this was subsequently extended to 31st July 2023 and has now been moved to April 2025. It's important to note that paying to fill gaps in your National Insurance record may not be suitable for everyone. We explain how to work out if it is worth it in our article, 'How to fill gaps in your National Insurance record'.
Is it worth paying to boost your state pension?
Individuals who are currently at or near the state pension age have a higher chance of benefiting from enhancing their National Insurance record and assessing whether it's worthwhile is relatively straightforward. In essence, if your state pension amount is currently below or projected to be below £203.85 per week (and you have confirmed that credits cannot be used to fill any gaps), then it is likely worth considering topping up your National Insurance record. We explain more about how to get a state pension forecast and whether you qualify for National Insurance credits in our article, 'How to fill gaps in your National Insurance record'.
Those in their 40s or 50s should evaluate the option that suits them best, as there is still a possibility of naturally filling any gaps during their working life. Essentially, the younger you are, the more time you have to accumulate the maximum number of years through paid work or National Insurance credits.
To determine whether filling the gaps in your National Insurance record will be beneficial, you should seek advice. If you are currently receiving or have deferred your pension, it is recommended to consult the Pension Service. If you have not yet reached the state pension age, you should speak to the Future Pension Centre.
For additional ways to boost your state pension, check out our article, 'How to boost your state pension'.