The government has confirmed that the deadline for people to make voluntary National Insurance (NI) contributions to top up their State Pension entitlement has been extended from 5 April 2023 to 31 July 2023.
People can normally make voluntary contributions to cover gaps within the previous six tax years. However with the introduction of the new State Pension in 2016, It has been possible to make voluntary contributions to cover years as far back as the 2006/7 tax year.
The government has also confirmed that people will still be able to top up these years based on the previous rates for voluntary National Insurance, rather than the higher rates that will now apply after 31 July 2023. From 1 August 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will also then revert to the usual six years.
The current cost of topping up one year’s gap is £824.20, providing an additional State Pension of £275 a year, which also increases annually in line with the triple lock (the higher of inflation, average earnings and 2.5%). This potentially provides excellent value for money.
Should I take action?
Filling gaps in your National Insurance record may not be right for everyone. Those who already have sufficient credits (35 years) to qualify for the full State Pension will not benefit from paying additional contributions.
Also, depending on how the gaps in your record have arisen, it may be possible to claim credits for these years, for example if you have been unemployed or caring for relatives.
Therefore before you pay any additional voluntary contributions, check the gaps in your National Insurance record, and also get a State Pension forecast, which can be found at www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.
It is equally important to regularly review your financial plans and seek advice as you approach and during your retirement, so that your pension savings continue to meet your needs throughout your retirement.
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