State pension warning as deadline looms to boost payments

Britons have just two months to take advantage of an extended offer to top up their National Insurance (NI) contributions and so boost their state pension payments.

A person typically needs 30 years of contributions to get the full basic state pension, which is £156.20 a week, and 35 years of contributions to get the full new state pension, which is £203.85 a week.

A person may have gaps in their National Insurance record, with some years not having the full contributions.

Reasons for this may include a person was living abroad or they were not working, or not earning enough to pay NI contributions.

People with gaps in their record may be able to voluntarily pay contributions to fill these gaps in their record.

READ MORE: Pension savers could get £9,000 a year income boost for retirement if they take action

A person can usually do this up to six years ago, but at present people can pay contributions further back up to another 10 years, as far back as 2003.

However, this offer only lasts until the end of July, after which people will only be able to pay contributions up to the usual six years ago.

A person can work out how much state pension they will currently receive using the state pension forecast tool on the Government website.

People may want to note that paying voluntary contributions does not always increase a person’s state pension.

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Those who are below state pension age, which is currently 66 for both men and women, can contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if they would benefit from voluntary contributions.

People who have reached state pension age can contact the Pension Service to check if they would benefit from paying voluntary contributions.

A woman previously shared her story on ITV’s Martin Lewis Money Show about how she topped up her contributions by just under £1,000, and is now on track to boost her payments across her retirement by £11,500.

People of state pension age may also be able to boost their income by more than £3,500 with Pension Credit.

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This benefit tops up the income of people of state pension age on low incomes. A person does not need to be claiming the state pension to get the benefit.

The benefit tops up a single person’s income up to £201.05 a week, and up to £306.85 a week for couples.

Claimants who have money saved up for their retirement can also get an extra payment, of up to £15.94 a week for single claimants and up to £17.84 for couples.

An individual may be able to get extra payments depending on their circumstances, such as if they care for another adult.

People on the benefit aged 75 and over can also get a free TV licence, which otherwise costs £159.

Those on the benefit can also get several other means of support such as council tax reductions, Housing Benefit and Support for Mortgage Interest.

People on Pension Credit are also eligible for a £900 cost of living payment going out in three instalments this financial year. The first £301 instalment recently went out.

Pensioners who get the Winter Fuel Payment this winter will also get a pensioner cost of living payment, of between £150 and £300.

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