Now is the time to check your entitlement to a full state pension, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire urges
- People have until July 31 to plug gaps in their national insurance (NI) record. These affect their entitlement to a full state pension – dating back to 2006
- It is possible people may have missed out on receiving NI credits in some years. This could be if they were unable to work due to illness or were caring for someone
- People may be able to cover these years for free. They can come to Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire for help
People should urgently check whether they have gaps in their national insurance (NI) record, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire has said.
This is because it will soon no longer be possible to plug gaps dating back to 2006.
Having 35 years of national insurance contributions means people are entitled to a full state pension.
People are entitled to national insurance credits in some situations – for instance, if they can’t work due to illness.
But not everyone claims these credits – which could leave them out of pocket when it comes time to receive state pension.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire wants to help. It is encouraging anyone who may be missing national insurance credits to come to the charity for advice.
It may be possible reapply for the credits to cover the missing years for free.
The window for addressing gaps in national insurance records dating back to 2006 closes on July 31.
After this, people will only be able to fill gaps for the past six tax years – currently going back to 2017.
National insurance credits – our advice
Emmanuelle Claverie is Lead Supervisor at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire and leads a team of Advisers.
She said: “It’s worth checking on the Government website to see your NI record and see if there are any gaps.
“If there are, for some people it’s worth looking at whether you have any entitlement covering those years.
“There are people who would have been entitled to have NI credits that did not claim them.
“If someone was too ill to work, but were told they could not claim any benefits because of their household income – they might have been able to register for the credits that would have gone towards their pension.
“It could also be the case for someone who was looking after their child, or carers who did not register for carers’ allowance.
“Were you at the time either too ill to work or looking for jobs or caring for someone but not getting your benefits in your own name?
“In that case, we might be able to help you reclaim them – but it all needs to be done by July 31.”
The charity has seen clients who have long-term health conditions who tried to claim employment and support allowance (ESA). They were turned down because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found them fit for work. They did not challenge the decision at the time.
Emmanuelle said: “People don’t realise that things have changed. You now need to have individual pension contributions to get an individual pension entitlement.
“You can’t have your partner sharing their contribution towards a pension with you.
“And you will have to show that you were doing things at the time. So it might be easier to come in so we can explore the situation.”
For people who have gaps in their record but were not eligible for national insurance credits, it is possible to pay to fill the missing years.
- Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947 or visit southgloscab.org.uk/get-advice/visit-us/to see our face-to-face opening times.
- Anyone wishing to donate to Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire to help it continue its vital work should visit: https://bit.ly/3kG7HyB