There are many reasons why you may be underpaid your state pension. Usually, this will be because you haven’t made enough National Insurance (NI) contributions. So, how do you find out if you have been underpaid? Recently, it was announced that the deadline to claim any missed years or gaps in your NI record has been extended to April 2025.
National Insurance – fill any gaps
Due to concerns raised by the general public, the government have decided to give taxpayers more time to fill any gaps in their NI record. The aim is to ensure people receive the right amount of state pension when they come to retire.
There is a new state pension system in place, and as part of the transition, it was agreed that people could fill any gaps between 2006 and 2016. This deadline was due to end this month, but it’s hoped that the extension will allow more people to fill any gaps.
Last year, in a previous blog, we looked at the dilemma of thousands of women who have been underpaid their state pension by the government. This was due to an IT error relating to the new state pension system, but there are other ways your state pension might be underpaid. Let’s look at these reasons and explain what you can do if you’re in this situation.
You will need to make 35 years of National Insurance (NI) contributions to qualify for the state pension. If you haven’t paid enough NI contributions, you won’t get the full state pension. This is because you need enough ‘qualifying years’. Your national insurance record will tell you whether there are any gaps in terms of missing contributions.
Reasons for missing NI contributions
Below are a few reasons why you might have gaps in your National Insurance (NI) record:
- You were unemployed or made redundant and you didn’t claim any benefits
- You were in employment, but you had low earnings
- You were self-employed, but due to small profits, you didn’t pay enough contributions
- You were living, traveling or working outside the UK for a period of time
You can make voluntary NI contributions to make up for any gaps between 2006 and 2016. This can be useful if you’re close to the state pension age, and worried that you don’t have enough qualifying years. However, in some cases, this might not increase the level of state pension you receive. The amount you get will depend on your situation.
How do I know if I have paid enough contributions?
If you’re below the state pension age, you should always check whether you will benefit from making voluntary contributions. You can either contact the government’s Pension Service or speak to one of our financial planners, who will carry out a full pension review.
This link will allow you to check your National Insurance record: https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record
For more information on how the state pension works, please read our previous blog Winning the state pension lottery.
As the deadline for making voluntary contributions has been extended until April 2025, we would urge you to check your National Insurance record as soon as possible. If you need advice, please speak to our financial planners. We can carry out a pension review and explain how much you’re likely to receive.
It’s worth noting that for many people, the state pension alone is unlikely to provide you with the level of comfort you might desire for your retirement. We recommend paying into a private or personal pension to ensure you have enough income to support you in your later years. Our team will explain how this works and provide you with suitable options.