Wealth Management

Maximising your State Pension

The government is making it easier for people to check for and fill any gaps in their National Insurance (NI) record to help increase their State Pension by launching a new digital service.

15th May 2024

The new digital service is called Check your State Pension forecast – and is a joint service by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The service will provide an estimate of the State Pension and will also highlight by how much their pension could increase by making voluntary NI contributions (NICs). You usually need at least 35 full ‘NI years’ to get the current maximum state pension of £221.20 a week.

Last year, the government extended the deadline to pay voluntary NICs to 5 April 2025 for those affected by new State Pension transitional arrangements. Those affected can make up gaps in their NI record between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2018. From 6 April 2025, people will only be able to pay voluntary contributions for the previous six tax years.

The extended deadline means that people now have more time to properly consider whether paying voluntary contributions is right for them and ensures no-one need miss out on the possibility of increasing their State Pension.

Anyone with NI gaps in some of their tax years can use the new digital service to choose which years they would like to pay to top up their NICs. They can then pay securely through the service and will receive confirmation that their payment has been received and that their NI record will be updated.

You can access the Check your State Pension forecast via GOV.UK or via the HMRC app. Customers going to the website will need to login to the new digital service through the Government Gateway.

Those without an online HMRC account can register on GOV.UK. You’ll have to prove your identity to register for Government Gateway if you have not used it before. You’ll need your National Insurance number or UK postcode and valid forms of identification.

The majority of customers will be able to use the digital service, without needing to phone HMRC or DWP, including those living abroad who want to pay voluntary contributions for years they were resident in the UK.

However, it is not currently available to those who are already receiving their State Pension, self-employed customers or customers currently living outside the UK with gaps incurred while working abroad. They can continue to manage their NICs as set out on GOV.UK.

If you’re currently unable to use the new online tool, or you’d prefer to talk to someone on the phone, you can still call up on 0300 200 3500 to find out more information about your NI record and to pay for missing years.

Please speak to your financial planner if you have any questions about your pensions overall, or enquire here