Ask the Experts: "Is it too late to top up my contributions so that I can get the full state pension?"

5 September 2017


I am a 69-year-old woman and have 26 qualifying years of National Insurance Contributions (NICs). I need four more to qualify for the full basic state pension of £122.30 a week. Is it too late for me to pay additional NICs for the missing years which go back to the 1970s and 1980s?

One person on the National Insurance Helpline told me that I could pay and get the extra pension. But, after a three-month wait, a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions stated that I can’t pay extra NICs as I have to do it within six years and one day of reaching state pension age, which was on 27 April 2008. I’m not sure that this is right and would like some advice.



I’m afraid the letter from the Department for Work and Pensions is correct. The rules state that a woman born before 6 October 1952 has six years after reaching their state pension age to make additional voluntary national insurance contributions. The same rules apply to men born before 6 April 1950.

Women born after 5 April 1953 and men born after 5 April 1951 have until 5 April 2023 to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps in their National Insurance record from between April 2006 and April 2016. You can find out more about the deadlines for paying voluntary contributions at

Michelle Cracknell is chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service.