Last remaining few weeks to boost your State Pension by paying for any missing National Insurance years
As you may be aware, the importance for everyone to check their National Insurance contributions record has arisen due to impending changes on what years contributions can be purchased by 5 April 2023. Essentially, it is highly recommended to ascertain whether your National Insurance contributions record reveals any missing years or gaps, which may create a shortfall in contributions and impact on your ability to claim your full State Pension.
The good news is that if your record should have years missing or reveals a shortfall in contributions, you can purchase the missing National Insurance contributions to plug any gaps and therefore qualify to receive your full State Pension when you reach retirement age. However, this is time sensitive and the deadline for this option ends on 5 April 2023. Until 5 April 2023 you can buy National Insurance years backdated to the year 2006. After 5 April 2023, you can only buyback six years’ worth of missing contributions.
It is estimated that potentially hundreds of thousands of people within the UK are estimated to have gaps in their contributions, thereby meaning they will miss out on qualifying for their full State Pension in later life. Therefore, it is highly recommended that if you are aged 45 years or older to check your National Insurance contributions record online via the Gov.uk website as soon as you can. The key points to remember are that each individual must check their records themselves — WHA acting as your agents nor your employer can conduct this check for you. For those in employment, your employer is not responsible for checking whether their employees have accrued enough National Insurance contributions to meet the criteria to receive their full State Pension — this responsibility solely rests with the individual employee. This check is also vital for those in self-employment.
Many life events/changes can cause a gap in National Insurance payments; career breaks, periods of unemployment or time spent abroad. If any contribution gaps are present due to caring commitments, then an application made via the Home Responsibilities Protection (‘HRP’) scheme may well provide you with enough National Insurance credits to secure full entitlement of the State Pension. For individuals who have taken the choice not to be in employment due to caring commitments — either child care including foster and kinship responsibilities, or undertook a caring role for a sick/disabled person — the option to fill the gaps in their National Insurance contributions record does exist. The HRP scheme allows those in caring roles to make an application for National Insurance credits to be applied to their contribution record, thus protecting their State Pension entitlement. An overview of the HRP scheme can be found at this web link: Home Responsibilities Protection: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), and to make an application please follow this link: Apply for Home Responsibilities Protection – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). If you have acted in a caring capacity for any period, it is recommended that you check your National Insurance contributions record for any shortfall and make an application via the HRP scheme; this option may mitigate the necessity of having to purchase the missing years through buyback.
To check your National Insurance record, please visit the following web link: Check your National Insurance record – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
To check your State Pension forecast, please visit the following web link: Check your State Pension forecast – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Please note that to access either the HRP application scheme, the National Insurance record or State Pension forecast online checkers you will need to have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a Government Gateway account, you can create one; please follow this link to set-up up your own Government Gateway ID and password: Use a Government Gateway user ID – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Martin Lewis (moneysavingexpert.com) has recently launched a media campaign to highlight this issue. Martin Lewis’ article can be found by following this link: Martin Lewis: Aged 45 to 70? Check if you can turn £800 into £5,500 by paying to boost your state pension (moneysavingexpert.com)
Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone who you feel might benefit from it.
Should you have any queries, please feel free to contact the WHA Team on 020 8878 8383 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.