Ask the Experts: How can I get a state pension if I've never paid towards it?

Published by Lisa Vaughan on 12 January 2018.
Last updated on 12 January 2018

Q

Do I qualify for a state pension if I have never contributed anything throughout my life? If I don’t, what is the minimum I can contribute now to get a state pension? 

From:
V/London

A

Men born after 5 April 1951 and women born after 5 April 1953 are automatically eligible for the new state pension if they have accrued at least 10 ‘qualifying years’ of national insurance contributions (NICs). If you have not paid NICs or received national insurance credits as a result of being in receipt of certain state benefits (for example, carer’s allowance or jobseeker’s allowance), you will not qualify for a new state pension.

The exception to this is if you are married or in a civil partnership. Then you may qualify for a state pension based on your spouse or civil partner’s national insurance record.

You should check to see whether you qualify for any state pension by requesting a state pension forecast at Gov.uk/check-state-pension.

If you have gaps in your NIC history and are not in receipt of the full state pension, you can usually pay voluntary Class 3 contributions for the past six years. You can choose to pay after state pension age (SPA) in relation to years prior to SPA. For those reaching SPA after 5 April 2016 (men born after 5 April 1951 and women born after 5 April 1953), you have until 5 April 2023 to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps between April 2006 and April 2016. You can also gain additional qualifying years after April 2016 by working and paying NICs, receiving NI credits or paying Class 3 NICs (voluntary).

The actual amount that you’ll pay will depend on your age now, your age at the time of the gaps, plus when you will pay the contribution.

The rates for the 2017-2018 tax year is £14.25 a week for Class 3. However, if you’re paying Class 3 contributions for previous tax years, you pay the original rate for those tax years.

If you are a man born after 5 April 1951 or a woman born after 5 April 1953 and pay voluntary NICSx by 5 April 2019 to make up for gaps between April 2006 and April 2016, the voluntary contribution rate may be:

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2016-2017 = £14.10 a week

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2015-2016 = £14.10 a week

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2014-2015 = £13.90 a week

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2013-2014 = £13.55 a week

 Class 3 - gap 6 April 2012-2013 = £13.25 a week

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2011-2012 = £12.60 a week

Class 3 - gap 6 April 2010-2011 = £12.05 a week

Class 3 - gaps 6 April 2006-2010 = £13.25 a week. 

Lisa Vaughan is a chartered financial planner at Fogwill & JonesFind out who our experts are on the Ask the Experts homepage.

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