National Insurance warning: Britons at risk of missing out on full state pension

State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify

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How much someone is entitled to in regards to the state pension is dependent on their record of National Insurance contributions. As of April, the payment rate for benefits increased by 3.1 percent so the full new state pension is currently worth £185.15 per week for claimants. However, in order to get the full available amount, state pension claimants must have at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt before retirement.

People who are employed usually have their National Insurance taken out automatically from their wages.

In contrast, people who work for themselves have to pay the tax using a self-assessment form if they earn above a certain amount.

It is possible for taxpayers to use the Government’s online National Insurance contributions service to see how far away they are from getting the full state pension amount.

It should be noted that they must have a Government Gateway account to use this service and can get an account by signing up using details from their passport, payslips or a P60.

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After logging into their account, taxpayers will be able to view their National Insurance history.

Any gaps between National Insurance contributions which could affect someone’s eligibility for the full state pension will be presented to the taxpayer.

On its website, Citizens Advice provides financial advice for those concerned about whether or not they have enough National Insurance contributions to get the full state pension.

Specifically, the money guidance bureau noted the different ways people can pick up vital National Insurance credits.

The charity stated: “For example, you can get National Insurance credits when you’re claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance, or if you have caring responsibilities.

“Your record can also include voluntary contributions that you choose to pay to cover gaps when you are not working or getting credits.

“When you reach state pension age, you can claim a state pension if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions during your working life.

“What you get depends on how many ‘qualifying years’ of National Insurance contributions you have.

“Each tax year (April 6 to April 5) that you pay or are credited with National Insurance contributions counts as a qualifying year, provided you earn or are credited with earnings of at least a minimum amount. This amount changes every year.”

Many people are opting to make voluntary contributions in a bid to boost their state-supported retirement pot.

Recent research from Quilter showed that Britons making Class 3 National Insurance contributions has risen by 85 percent after the launch of the new state pension back in 2016.

Class 3 is the term used to describe voluntary contributions with taxpayers filling in gaps within their National Insurance record

On this, Jon Greer, the head of retirement policy at Quilter, said: “This significant spike in 2016 in the number of people choosing to top up their state pension illustrates that government changes can have a big impact on behaviour.

“It may therefore be prudent for the government to mount an educational campaign to ensure more people are aware that these top ups are available if they have gaps in their National Insurance record particularly in light of the job issues many have faced since the pandemic started.

“If someone does have a gap, it is worthwhile considering whether to make additional contributions as they can be worth far more than what you pay particularly for those that live longer.”

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