Do you know whether your national insurance contributions (NIC) record is complete and correct?
You can check the NIC record over your entire working life on your online personal tax account. This will also provide an estimate of the state retirement pension you should expect to receive when you retire.
You need 35 complete years of NIC (payments or credits) in order to receive the maximum state retirement pension and at least ten complete NIC years to receive any state retirement pension.
A gap in your NIC record can occur if you were out of work, studying or caring for children. In most cases this period should be covered by NI credits which are given automatically if you claim universal credit or similar benefits.
A parent who stays at home with young children should receive NI credits if they claimed child benefit for the child. However, in some circumstances (e.g., fostering a child) you need to apply for NI credits.
If you find a gap in your NIC record, investigate why this may have occurred. It is not uncommon for HMRC to miss NI credits that were due.
You can normally pay voluntary contributions to fill in the missing weeks to make a tax year complete for NIC but only for periods up to six years ago. However, HMRC is currently allowing women born after 5 April 1953 and men born after 5 April 1951 to complete gaps in their NIC record right back to 6 April 2006. This opportunity to plug old NIC gaps closes on 5 April 2023 so do not delay!