The normal time limit for a person to fill gaps in their national insurance (NI) record is six years, but transitional arrangements allow gaps to be filled back to 2006/07. The deadline for making such contributions was recently extended to 31 July 2023, but has now been extended to 5 April 2025.
The deadline has been delayed because people have been finding it difficult to get through on pension helplines once the July deadline received a publicity boost. The transitional arrangement will now apply for the years 2006/07 to 2017/18.
Voluntary NI contributions for the years 2006/07 to 2017/18 paid by 5 April 2025 will be at the 2022/23 rate of £15.85 a week, even though the rate is currently £17.45.
The first step is for a person to check their state pension forecast and NI record. This can easily be done online.
· Voluntary contributions will not always increase the amount of state pension. The decision can be especially complex if contracted out of the state pension prior to 2016.
· A person in very poor health or with a short life expectancy will probably not benefit from voluntary contributions.
Personalised advice can be obtained by contacting the Future Pension Centre (if not yet at state pension age) or the Pension Service (if already receiving the state pension).
A person needs 35 qualifying years on their NI record to qualify for the full state pension, which is currently £10,600 a year. To add a full year the cost is £824, but this will boost annual pension entitlement by some £303 – a very respectable return for someone who then enjoys at least five years of retirement.
The return will be even better if partially complete years can be filled since these might only require a few missing weeks – at £15.85 per week – to be paid.
A state pension forecast can be obtained here.