Are your National Insurance contributions up to date?

Keeping track of your National Insurance contributions (NIC) is essential. Ensuring your payments are up to date will make sure that you qualify for the full State Pension when you retire, along with a number of other benefits through your working life including Maternity Allowance and Bereavement Support.

A new online service has been launched by the Government to enable you to check for gaps in your National Insurance payments and make voluntary contributions quickly and easily. Calls for the service to be improved came following taxpayers reporting that references and payments were being missed; the old system could take up to 60 days to register additional contributions, as a result of a manual payment arrangement.

Check your state pension

Thankfully the Check your state pension tool has now been improved. Until the update the system would provide a forecast only, but it’s now possible to check contributions, understand if you have any gaps and make voluntary payments.

The interactive tool also enables you to check how your state pension could increase with voluntary contributions and how much you’d need to pay to achieve this. You can then select the years you’d like to fill, pay securely and receive an email confirmation that payment has been received and your NIC record updated. It’s worth noting that paying voluntary contributions might not increase your state pension entitlement so the ability to check what’s possible more easily is a welcome change.

Following an extension in June 2023, you now have until 5 April 2025 to pay voluntary contributions to make up any gaps between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2018. After this it will only be possible to pay voluntary contributions for the previous six tax years.

The new service is available to most taxpayers, but there are some limits, and if you’re self-employed you’ll need to continue managing your NI as before.