State Pensions – deadline for National Insurance top-ups extended to 5 April 2025

The deadline date for paying backdated National Insurance (NIC) relating to more than six years ago was originally due to be 5th April 2023, this was extended to 31st July 2023; it has been announced this week that the deadline is now deferred to 5th April 2025.

Note however that it will continue to still be possible to backdate NIC for up to six years after April 2025.

The age that State Pension becomes available has been pushed back over recent years, for anyone born after 5 April 1960, there is a phased increase in the age it can be accessed to 67, and eventually it will be pushed to 68 for those born after April 1977. Nevertheless, it is a valuable benefit, paid without deduction of income tax, and most likely to be within your personal allowance too, so no income tax is due.

A minimum of 10 qualifying years National Insurance (NIC) is required to get any State Pension, and to achieve the maximum State Pension, those with no NIC record before 6 April 2016, need 35 years. For anyone with NICs paid before 2016, the rules are a little complex as we earn credits under the old system, where 30 years NIC were required for full State Pension, and so have an element of transitional protection to ensure we are no worse off under the “New State Pension”.

Our recommended starting point is to obtain a State Pension statement via the Government Gateway. It will tell you whether you have already achieved the maximum State Pension, or if not, how many additional years NIC you need to pay to achieve it. NIC continues to be paid if you are working, regardless of whether you have achieved full State Pension entitlement or not. If you find you have gaps in your NIC record and haven’t achieved the maximum, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to go back to work! You can fill gaps, or pay Voluntary NIC.

The deadline which has now been pushed back again, relates to the transitional arrangement whereby instead of the usual rules allowing NIC to be backdated for up to six years, it was possible to buy missing NIC credits dating back to 2006. When we originally prepared this piece for our newsletter, the ability to backdate to 2006 was set to end on 5 April 2023; the deadline is now 5 April 2025, after which you will only be able to buy backdated missing NIC credits for the standard six years.

Care was/is always needed that payment of backdated NIC achieves the objective of increasing State Pension, but for some it can be a useful facility.

If you are approaching State Pension Age, obtain a State Pension forecast via the Government Gateway and check your NIC credits. If you don’t have enough credits, then make sure you contact Future Pension Centre (0800 731 0175) who will be able to advise you whether paying backdated NIC will increase your State Pension entitlement, and which years’ NIC should be paid. There may be savings to be had by paying NIC for any gaps in earlier years rather than more recent years.

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