State pension: Parents could protect entitlement by up to 12 years – are you missing out?

State pension: Martin Lewis explains if you’re entitled to more

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The state pension is linked to a person’s National Insurance record, and normally, there is a minimum amount of qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to get the amount. It may be a person can increase their entitlement via their National Insurance record.

“To get the full basic State Pension you need a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits,” the Government website explains.

Meanwhile, a person will need 35 qualifying years to get the new full state pension if they don’t have a National Insurance record before April 6, 2016.

“You may get less than the new full State Pension if you were contracted out before 6 April 2016,” GOV.UK states.

“You may get more than the new full State Pension if you would have had over a certain amount of Additional State Pension under the old rules.”

How do National Insurance contributions work?

When a person is working, they pay National Insurance and get a qualifying year if:

  • They’re employed and earning over £183 a week from one employer
  • They’re self-employed and paying National Insurance contributions.

A person might not pay National Insurance contributions if they’re earning less than £183 per week.

They may still get a qualifying year if they earn between £120 and £183 a week from one employer though.

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There is a number of ways in which a person can still get qualifying years on their National Insurance record if they cannot work.

This is what is known as National Insurance credits.

An example of this is getting National Insurance credits via Child Benefit.

These credits are available for a child under 12 – or under 16 before 2010.

Credits are also available for people who get Carer’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Child Benefit can be claimed by a person who is responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

The money is paid every four weeks, and there’s no limit as to how many children can be claimed for.

As well as the monetary side of the payment, for children under 12, Child Benefit recipients who aren’t working or don’t earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions can get National Insurance credits.

“These credits count towards your State Pension, so you do not have gaps in your National Insurance record,” explains the Government.

It’s important to be aware that even if a person doesn’t want to get Child Benefit payments, such as to avoid the High Income Child Benefit tax Charge (HICBC) they should still fill in and send off the claim form.

Kay Ingram, Director of Public Policy at LEBC Group, has spoken about the importance of this in the past.

The chartered financial planner said: “Parents not paying NI contributions through employment or self-employment may claim credits, which are automatically provided when claiming Child Benefit.

“To ensure the NI credit isn’t wasted it is essential that the adult who is not paying NI through employment or self-employment claims the Child Benefit.

“Credits continue until the youngest child is 12.

“Parents who have waived the benefit due to the High-Income Child Benefit charge can also claim the NI credit by applying for Child Benefit but then waiving payment.”

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