State pensions could rise via National Insurance boost

Martin Lewis shares tips for boosting state pension

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The amount an older person receives from their state pension is dependent on their National Insurance record. In order to get the full new state pension, taxpayers need to have 35 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt and 30 years for the old state pension. However, some individuals have gaps in their National Insurance record which could result in them missing out on a full retirement package.

To get any of the full new state pension, Britons need at least 10 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions.

Pensioners may get less than the new full state pension if they were contracted out before April 6, 2016.

People may also get more than the full new state pension if they have had over a certain amount of the additional state pension under old rules.

Currently, the full new state pension is £185.15 per week while those on the old state pension get a weekly amount of £141.85 per week.

READ MORE: 70 health conditions qualify for extra £156 a week in PIP from DWP

The reason some people have gaps in their National Insurance record is due to being out of the workforce for a period of time.

Anyone can get a state pension forecast which will tell you how much they will get paid once they hit retirement age.

After this, they can apply for a National Insurance statement from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check if their record has gaps.

If someone has gaps in their record, they can see if they are eligible for National Insurance credits which can automatically boost someone’s eventual state pension amount.

Vulnerable groups are able to do this, for example those on certain benefits get Class 1 credits automatically while unpaid carers could be eligible for Carer’s Credit.

Alternatively, those approaching retirement could make voluntary contributions to their record to help hike their state pension.

Despite the many ways to help your retirement, Richard Eagling from NerdWallet, warned it is a “dangerous game” to rely on the state pension alone.

Mr Eagling said: “Sometimes you hear people who haven’t made any plans for their retirement, exclaiming that they’re not worried because they will just live on their state pension.

“This can often be based on a lack of awareness around how little the state pension actually pays.

“How much you receive will depend on your National Insurance record. Furthermore, who knows what the state pension provision will be by the time you come to retire, and at what age you’ll be able to get it?

“It’s a dangerous game to rely on the state pension alone without saving anything yourself.”

The pension expert encouraged people to look into how they can boost their retirement pots and outlined what people need to ideally have to live comfortably.

He added: “Ask yourself what a good retirement looks like to you. Would you want to take early retirement and stop working at 55 or 60?

“Maybe you love working and you’ll only semi-retire, working part-time, set up your own enterprise or volunteering instead of stopping work altogether.

“Whatever you imagine your retirement will look like, determine what you need to do now to make it achievable.

“There are lots of free online pension calculators that can help you. Plug some figures into a pensions calculator to see how much you’re on track to get based on your current pension contribution and pension values.

“Keep in mind that the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association estimates that the average person needs an annual retirement income of £20,000 for a moderate lifestyle, and £33,000 for a comfortable retirement, although your own requirements may differ.”

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