State pension UK: How can National Insurance records can be built up without employment?

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State pension payments need at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions to be claimed. A minimum of 35 years will be needed to receive the full amount of £175.20 per week.

National Insurance is usually built up as a person works and minimum amounts must be earned for contributions to count as a “qualifying year”.

A qualifying year will be accrued when a person is employed and is earning over £183 a week from at least one employer.

Additionally, self-employed people can accrue a qualifying year by manually paying National Insurance.

Where a person is unemployed, they may be able to get National Insurance credits if they cannot work, for example because of illness or disability.

National Insurance credits can be built up if a person:

  • Claims child benefit for a child under 12 (or under 16 before 2010)
  • Gets Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance or
  • Gets Carer’s Allowance

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It’s possible to have gaps in a National Insurance and still receive a full state pension is voluntary National Insurance contributions are made.

Voluntary contributions can cover gaps in a National Insurance record from the previous six years.

These voluntary contributions will be made via either class two or class three payments.

It should be noted however that making voluntary contributions will not be free of costs, as class two payments have a weekly rate of £3.05, which increases to £15.30 for class three.

Fortunately, the government will allow people to check on their National Insurance record online and see if they need to take action.

On top of this, a state pension forecast can be received which can help people find out:

  • How much state pension they could get
  • When they can get it
  • How to increase it, if possible

State pensions can be claimed once a person reaches the appropriate state pension age.

As it stands, state pension age is sitting between 65 and 66 but the government has plans to increase it to 68 in the coming years.

A person can claim their state pension up to four months before they reach their state pension age.

The government details that the quickest way to claim state pensions is to apply online but it can also be done over the phone or through the post.

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