HMRC and DWP launch online service for voluntary National Insurance contributions

A new tool will allow users to identify and address any gaps in their NI credit history – ultimately enabling them to access greater financial support from government in later life

The government has launched a new digital service to allow citizens to identify gaps in their National Insurance contributions and make voluntary payments to address them.

To qualify for a full State Pension, citizens must record 30 full years of NI payments through work – or equivalent credits awarded through schemes for benefit recipients, carers, or parents.

The Department for Work and Pensions administers the State Pension and HM Revenue and Customs oversees the National Insurance regime; the two departments jointly operate an online GOV.UK-based service to enable citizens to check their pension forecast.

As of today, this joint service “has been enhanced to include a fully end-to-end digital solution” designed to help workers understand and plug gaps in their NI history, according to the government.

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“The service will show customers by how much their State Pension could increase and details of the voluntary NI contributions they would need to pay to achieve this,” it added. “It allows most people under State Pension age to view gaps in their NI record and pay voluntary contributions to fill those gaps, if it will benefit them.”

The online tool will allow users to “choose which years they would like to pay to fill [and] then pay securely through the service and… receive confirmation that their payment has been received and that their NI record will be updated”.

While the service can be used by those currently living abroad, payments can only be made in respect of years for which the payee was resident in the UK. The platform is also not available for those already receiving state pension, or the self-employed. To access the new service, citizens will need to create a personal tax account with HMRC, if they do not already have one.

Between now and April 2025, the digital service – which has also been added as a feature of the HMRC app – will allow users to make NI contributions to cover any tax year from 2006/7 up to 2017/18. Thereafter, citizens will be able to make voluntary payments for the preceding six tax years, which is “in line with normal time limits”, according to the government.

Minister for pensions Paul Maynard, said: “The State Pension is the foundation of income in retirement, which is why we have introduced this new online tool to help simplify boosting it for those who are able to. I would encourage everyone to check their State Pension forecast and to take a look at how they could improve their State Pension award with only a few simple clicks.”

Sam Trendall

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