Martin Lewis tip for National Insurance boost to state pension

With the new tax year, Britons will only be able to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions as far back as six years ago. The Government phone line has been very busy with people trying to pay contributions ahead of the deadline, and ministers have said they may extend the deadline on a case-by-case basis.

Martin Lewis has warned the helpline can sometimes cut people off who are seeking help or trying to top up their contributions.

Mr Lewis urged people to make a note of their efforts to get in touch with the DWP as this may help them secure an extension.

He said in a tweet: “The helpline now says it may extend the April 5 deadline case-by-case. So keep trying, but if you don’t get through, note the time, date and how long you were on hold, so you can use it as evidence if you need to ask for an extension.”

The founder of MoneySavingExpert has also used his ITV show to stress people could boost their state pension “by thousands or even tens of thousands”.

The expert has previously urged anyone aged 45 to 70 to check if they can top up their contributions.

At present, an individual can pay voluntary class three NI contributions at £15.85 a week, or £824.20 for the year.

A person typically needs 35 years of contributions to get the full new state pension, which is currently £185.15 a week.

Each full year of contributions adds up to one 35th of the full state pension, boosting a person’s payments by £5.29 a week or around £275 over the course of a year.

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A woman recently appeared on Martin Lewis’ ITV show who paid in just £1,000 to top up her state pension, and is now on track to boost her payments by £11,500 over the course of her retirement.

An individual can check if there are any gaps in their NI record using the state pension forecast tool on the Government website.

The tool will also tell a person if they can voluntarily pay their contributions to go towards their state pension.

A person may have gaps in their record because they were unemployed or spent some time abroad.

They may also have worked for a time on an income below the threshold for paying National Insurance contributions.

A Briton typically needs 30 years of contributions to get the full basic state pension, which is currently £141.85 a week under the scheme for those who retired before April 6, 2016.

State pension payments are increasing by 10.1 percent in April, with the full basic state pension increasing to £156.20 a week, while the full new state pension is going up to £203.85 a week.

State pensioners on a low income may also want to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit, a benefit which tops up a person or couple’s income, by up to £3,500 a year.

The benefit tops up an individual’s weekly income to £182.60 a week and up to £278.70 a week for couples.

Claimants can also access many other means of Government support including council tax discounts and free TV licences for people aged 75 and over.

People on the benefit are also to receive a £900 cost of living payment, being paid in three instalments over the coming tax year, with the first instalment in spring 2023.

Pension Credit payments are also increasing by 10.1 percent in April along with many other benefits, including Carer’s Allowance and Attendance Allowance.

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