State pension UK: NI statement is needed to check on contributions – do you have enough?

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State pension payments can be as high as £175.20 per week where a person has accumulated at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions. The rules around what qualifies as a “qualifying” National Insurance year can be complicated and as such, people can request a state pension forecast to check on how much they’re set to receive when they reach the appropriate age.

Once this forecast has been received, a person will then be able to apply for a National Insurance statement from HMRC to check on gaps.

This HMRC statement can be requested online and it will require detailed information from the user including address information and relationship circumstances.

The government details where a person has gaps in their record that would prevent them from getting a full state pension, they may be able to:

  • Get National Insurance credits
  • Make voluntary National Insurance contributions

National Insurance credits may be received by some people who are not paying National Insurance due to claiming benefits or being unemployed.

If a person is eligible for these credits, they could either receive them automatically or have to apply for them depending on their circumstances.

Where a person is eligible, they’ll either receive class once contributions which will count towards a state pension and may help with other state benefits, or they’ll receive class three contributions which will count towards a state pension only.

Eligibility can be dependent on being unemployed, ill or claiming certain benefits.

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Additionally, some people may be able to fill gaps in their National Insurance record by making voluntary contributions.

While this is a valid options for some, the government warns that voluntary contributions do not always increase a state pension.

They detail that before contributions are made, the Future Pension Centre should be contacted before any action is taken.

Where a person decides to pay voluntary contributions, they can usually cover gaps from the previous six years.

It should be noted that making voluntary contributions is not a cost free endeavour.

Depending on which class of National Insurance is paid, the following charges/rates will be levied:

  • £3.05 a week for Class two
  • £15.30 a week for Class three

When a person is ready to actually claim their state pension they’ll have a few options available to them.

The government claim that the quickest way to get a state pension is to claim it online.

However, people will also be able to claim their state pension over the phone or by completing a specific form and sending it to the government.

A person will be able to claim their state pension up to two months before reaching their state pension age, which will be between 65 and 66 for most people.

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