26th June 2024 - Ben Nolan

New digital Service to check your State Pension Forecast launched

A new digital service has been launched that makes it easier to check if you have any gaps in your National Insurance (NI) record that may affect your State Pension entitlement.

The service is called Check Your State Pension Forecast and can be accessed via GOV.UK or the HMRC app. You will need to register for or log in to your Personal Tax Account to find the service.

The forecast details your NI record by tax year and identifies if there are any years that are not counting towards your State Pension entitlement. The service also shows the details of any voluntary NI contributions that you could make to increase your forecast.

The service allows you to choose which years you would like to pay voluntary contributions for and then takes you through to a secure payment facility to make payment.

If you think you may have gap years in your contributions, it is important to check sooner rather than later. Because of new State Pension transitional arrangements, the deadline for paying voluntary NI contributions was extended to 5 April 2025.

Currently, it is possible to make voluntary contributions for tax years going back to 6 April 2006. However, from 6 April 2025, it will only be possible to make voluntary contributions for the preceding six years.

State Pension Facts

Even if you have other pensions or income in retirement, your State Pension can be valuable. As it’ll be paid from when you reach State Pension Age for the rest of your life, it can provide some financial security that you can build on and so may affect other decisions you make.

For the 2024/25 tax year, the full new State Pension is £221.20 a week

The State Pension is paid when you reach the State Pension Age, which is currently 66 but is gradually rising. It’s expected to reach 68 by 2039.

If you’re entitled to the full new State Pension, you’d receive £221.10 a week during the 2024/25 tax year.

However, this isn’t the amount everyone will receive. How many years you have on your National Insurance (NI) record will influence your State Pension.

To qualify for the full State Pension, you need to have at least 35 years on your NI record. To qualify for any State Pension, you need 10 years. If you have between 10 and 35 years on your NI record, you will receive a proportion of the full amount.

There are many reasons why you may have gaps in your NI record. You may have taken time away from work to care for an elderly relative, have a period of low earnings, or simply taken a career break to pursue other things.

As a result, you may have fewer than 35 years of NICs and won’t receive the full amount. In turn, this could mean your reliable income is less than expected.

The government’s State Pension forecast can be used to find out how much you could receive from the State Pension and when you can claim it.

If you do have a gap in your NI record, you may be able to top up your contributions and receive a greater income from the State Pension in retirement.

The standard rate of buying Class 3 NICs is £17.45 a week, adding up to £907.40 for a year. However, some years may cost less to top up than others as you would pay the rate from those years.

If you are considering making voluntary NICs to increase your pension, you should check how much you will benefit first and you might want to consider your retirement plans. For instance, if you have several years before your planned retirement date, could you still have the necessary 35 years on your NI record to receive the State Pension even if you have gaps from previous years?

We are of course very happy to help you make any state pension funding decisions. Please do not hesitate to contact us or your Financial Planner on 01273 407 500.

Risk warnings

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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