How to check if you have paid enough National Insurance to claim the full State Pension | Personal Finance | Finance

Ensuring you are fully up to date with contributions could make the difference between an old age in reasonable comfort and one where it is difficult to cover the cost of essentials.

An analysis by money saving expert Martin Lewis suggests that paying enough NI to qualify for the full pension could well be worth more than £6,000 during the retirement years.
Despite the clear financial benefits, many people are unaware of just how many years of NI contributions they have amassed given the fact the picture can be complicated.
And it is particularly for complex for carers, normally women, who have spent time looking after young children. This is because they are allowed to acrue qualifying years for NI contributions even though they were not earning a wage.
Understanding your personal NI contributions has never been more important and urgent because an opportunity to buy back missing years will be lost after April next year.
The new state pension was introduced in 2016 and applies to all men born after April 5, 1951 and women born after April 5, 1953. If you were born after those dates, you may be eligible to buy back any years of missed NI contributions.
This regime allows people to buy back missed years of NI contributions dating back to 2006 at a typical cost of some £824 a year.

While this may appear a high figure, the payment will increase the annual pension by £329, which means it will be recovered in less than three years.

Martin Lewis estimates that if you live an average life expectancy, you could gain about £5,400 if you’re a man and £6,100 if you’re a woman for each year of missed NI contributions that are bought back.
You can check your personal National Insurance record and whether you are able to buy back NI pension qualifying years online here.

What information is provided?

What you’ve paid, up to the start of the current tax year (6 April 2024)

Any National Insurance credits you’ve received, for example for years looking after young children

If gaps in contributions or credits mean some years do not count towards your State Pension (they are not ‘qualifying years’)

If you’ll benefit from paying voluntary contributions to fill any gaps

How your State Pension forecast will change if you decide to pay voluntary contributions

If you can pay voluntary contributions online and how much this will cost

Before you start

You will need to sign in to your personal tax account using your Government Gateway user ID and password.

If you do not have a personal tax account

You need a Government Gateway user ID and password to set up a personal tax account. If you do not already have a user ID, you can create one when you sign in for the first time.

You’ll need your National Insurance number or postcode and 2 of the following:

A valid UK passport

A UK photocard driving licence issued by the DVLA (or DVA in Northern Ireland)

A payslip from the last 3 months or a P60 from your employer for the last tax year

Details of a tax credit claim, if you made one

Details from a Self Assessment tax return in the last 2 years, if you made one

Dnformation held on your credit record if you have one (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)


Other ways to apply

You can request a printed National Insurance statement:

Online, if you live in the UK

Online or by post, if you live abroad

By phone

You’ll need to say which years you want your statement to cover. You cannot request statements for the current or previous tax year.

You can also write to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

PT Operations North East England
HM Revenue and Customs

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