Your entitlement to the basic State Pension and certain bereavement benefits could be affected if there are gaps in your National Insurance contributions record. You could pay voluntary National Insurance contributions to make up the shortfall.
National Insurance Contributions and your State Pension
The amount of basic State Pension (and certain bereavement benefits) you are entitled to is based on your National Insurance Contributions record over your working life from age 16 until State Pension age.
Your record comprises National Insurance Contributions paid or credited to you in each tax year. A minimum amount of contributions or credits is required for a year to count as a 'qualifying year' towards your overall contributions record.
How gaps in your National Insurance contributions record might occur
There could be gaps in your National Insurance contributions record for various reasons. For example, you may have been:
- employed and had low earnings - below the 'lower earnings limit' of £111 per week (in 2014-2015 tax year)
- unemployed and not claiming benefit
- self-employed and you didn't have to pay Class 2 contributions because you applied for, and were issued with a Certificate of Small Earnings Exception
- living abroad
You can find out more information about Class 2
national Insurance contributions by visiting the following GOV.UK page and can find out about additional State Pension top up at the following nidirect page.
Qualifying years to get full basic State Pension
This depends on when you reach State Pension age. The number of qualifying years needed for a full basic State Pension for men and women is the same.
- men born before 6 April 1945 need 44 qualifying years
- men born on or after 6 April 1945 need 30 qualifying years
- women born before 6 April 1950 need 39 qualifying years
- women born on or after 6 April 1950 need 30 qualifying years
Your basic State Pension if you don't have 30 qualifying years
You will get 1/30th of the full basic State Pension for each qualifying year you have. This means that any number of qualifying years will give you entitlement to at least some basic State Pension.
If you had 10 qualifying years you would be entitled to 10/30th of the full basic State Pension.
Use the online State Pension tool to calculate when you will State Pension age.
Your basic State Pension if you reach State Pension age between 6 April 2010 and 5 April 2016