MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis is reminding Britons aged 45 to 70 to check their National Insurance (NI) contributions before April 2023 as they may be able to boost their state pension by thousands. The expert issued the reminder after a woman named Martine called into BBC Radio 5Live earlier today to thank him after she found she had eight years worth of NI contributions missing.
The caller continued: “I would have never known without listening to the podcast – thank you. The only bad news is my husband has just taken his pension and is getting £1,000 a year less than I will get.”
In response, Martin said everyone aged 45 to 70 should check their NI records as it could prove costly if they don’t act soon.
He said: “It is an incredibly important listen for anybody aged 45 to 70 because the window on being able to buy back a lot of those contributions shuts in April at the start of the new tax year.
“It is essentially an exemption of when they changed the pension system in 2016 and so I would urge anyone who is aged 45 to 70 to make sure you’ve heard that podcast and got that information about whether you should be buying back old state pension years.”
People need to earn more than £123 a week to qualify for NI contributions and typically must accumalate 35 years worth to qualify for the full new state pension.
Some people may be missing years due to raising children, being out of work or working abroad.
However, it’s possible for people to buy the years they may have missed, which would enable them to qualify for the full rate.
Mr Lewis suggests anyone who hasn’t yet reached state pension age to go to GOV.UK and look up their state pension summary.
On the initial podcast, Mr Lewis told listeners that if it looks like it might benefit them, to contact the Government’s future pension centre and get a bespoke calculation.
Mr Lewis said: “A voluntary National Insurance year costs about £800, but it adds £275 a year to your state pension.
“This means, the break-even point, is if you live just three years after the state pension age.”
However, it is important to note voluntary contributions do not always boost the state pension, so it is vital to do one’s research beforehand.
People can listen to The Martin Lewis Podcast on BBC Sounds, here.