Should I top up my son’s national insurance contributions?

27 May 2020


My 28-year-old son has some incomplete years of national insurance contributions (NICs). I am wondering if I should top them up for him using voluntary NICs so that he will get the full state pension.

I know he can only top up the past six years, but I have also read it may not be worth it.  I am happy to help him financially, but only if it will benefit him.

JD/via email


At this early stage in his working life, your son does not need to worry about topping up his state pension as he has plenty of time to build up his entitlement.

In order to get a full state pension under current rules, you need to have paid or received credits for national insurance for 36 years. As your son has at least 40 years to go until he reaches the proposed state pension age, there is no benefit in making voluntary contributions at this stage.

Making Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

The amount of state pension you receive depends on your national insurance contributions (NICs). This is a tax taken from your salary alongside income tax.

If you have not built up a full state pension entitlement during your working lifetime, then it is possible to pay voluntary NICs to boost your state pension. You can only buy NICs to cover gaps in your national insurance record from the past six years. Also be aware that it may not always increase your state pension, so speak to the Future Pensions Centre (visit or phone 0800 731 0175) before making any payments.

The cost of voluntary NICs depends on the year you want to pay for. The weekly rate is £13.90 for 2014/15; £14.25 for 2017/18; £14.65 for 2018/19; and £15 for 2019/20.

Michelle Cracknell is former chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service.

Do you have a money question for our panel of experts?

At Moneywise, we have a panel of top experts to help with your money and investing questions. If you have a tax issue that’s keeping you awake at night, a question about investing that you’ve always wondered but been too shy to ask, or even need a full money makeover for free, we’d love to hear from you.

If you have been treated unfairly by a firm send the details to Moneywise’s Fight for your Rights and we could take up the fight for you.


If you have a question about your investments or investing in general, put it to our Investment Doctor.


If you have a question about your personal finances – anything from tax to state pensions, inheritance tax, property sales and more – write to our Ask the experts panel.


Would you like a full money makeover? We will arrange a free one-to-one meeting for you with an FCA-regulated independent financial adviser worth over £2,000.

See for more details.