Paying voluntary National Insurance contributions
It’s all about plugging holes in your National Insurance record. And that in turn, is about making sure
there are enough years of National Insurance contributions (NICs), or National Insurance credits, to
get the full State Pension.
Gaps in the contributions record can occur for all sorts of reasons. They can happen, for example, if
you are self-employed, but have not paid contributions because of small profits; or are employed with
low earnings; are unemployed and didn’t claim benefits; or have been living or working outside the UK.
It is possible to make voluntary contributions to fill in gaps in the record, though time
limits and eligibility requirements apply. Usually, you can only pay for gaps in the National
Insurance record for the past six years. But as part of the transitional arrangements introduced
alongside the new State Pension, there is a more generous deadline, applying for certain specific tax
For the tax years from April 2006 to April 2017, the deadline for contributions is 5 April 2025. This
is a further extension: the government’s original intention had been to allow contributions only until
31 July 2023. The provision particularly impacts men born after 5 April 1951, or women born after 5
April 1953, for whom retirement planning will be on the horizon. The new deadline gives them more time
to decide whether voluntary contributions will be of benefit, and allow them to access State Pension
entitlements. But it could also benefit anyone looking to make good a gap in the contributions record
for the past six years.
Voluntary contributions don’t always increase the State Pension, so it’s important to check the
position before making a decision. You can find out how to check your NI record, get a State Pension
forecast, decide if making a voluntary contribution is worthwhile, and make a payment on gov.uk. You
can also check your NI record through your Personal Tax Account.