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  • Writer's pictureFinancial Framework

Last call to top up your National Insurance years

An important deadline for everyone aged between 45 and 70 years old is fast approaching. If you fall within this age group, you have until 31st July 2023 to ‘buy back’ any national insurance (NI) contributions which you may have missed for any periods between 2006 and 2016. Once this deadline has passed, the opportunity will be gone forever.

Though this may not directly affect you, it is worth mentioning to younger family members who are below retirement age.

By way of a little background, in general you need around 35 full NI contributions years to ensure the maximum state pension (currently £203.85 per week). If you have fewer NI years under your belt, you will receive a smaller weekly state pension. Whilst most people collect NI years by working and paying NI or via credits, the good news is that until the end of July, there is an alternative route to ensure optimum contributions and the maximum (inflation proofed) state pension for the rest of your life.

Traditionally, everyone has been able to buy back up to six years of NI contributions at any time, but this has been extended. Now, you are able to fill any gaps back to 2006. The initial deadline to take any NI action was 5th April 2023, but due to huge demand from people wishing to secure their missing years, the government phone lines are backed up and so we have been given an additional four months or so. So, there’s still time to take action.

You can check whether you are missing any NI years from your National Insurance record via the Government Gateway. If you find that there are gaps in your record between 2006 and 2016, you can download your state pension forecast on the same Government Gateway site.

If your state pension forecast is for less than £203.85 per week and you have gaps in your NI record, you may be able to obtain the missing years. It might be that you have missing NI years, but your pension forecast is for the full amount, in which case you do not need to boost your contributions as this will not increase your state pension further.

Advice is key

Whilst filling any NI years gaps may seem like the sensible thing to do initially, it is not necessarily the best option for everyone and, as is the case with all pension matters, it is important to discuss your options with us before you decide, as everyone’s circumstances are different. Factors such as your age, number of years until retirement and your general health will all need to be considered before you pick the phone up and join the queue to top up. We can refer to our financial advisors who are here to help so do get in touch if you would like to discuss your situation.

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