Gaps in your National Insurance record?

If you are a taxpayer with gaps in your National Insurance record, you have until 5 April 2023 to make voluntary contributions to plug gaps back to April 2006.

From 6 April 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will revert to normal 6 years i.e you will only be able to plug gaps back to 2017/18 tax year only.

Your National Insurance record is important as it is used to determine your entitlement to certain state benefits such as the State Pension. Your National Insurance record may have gaps if you fail to make NI contributions or receive NI credits. If you have gaps in your National Insurance record, this can affect your entitlement to these benefits.

There are several reasons why you may have gaps in your National Insurance record, including:

  • You were employed but earned a low income
  • Not working or earning and did not receive any benefits
  • Being self-employed and not paying enough National Insurance contributions.
  • Taking a career break or time out of work for caring responsibilities.
  • Living or working abroad and not paying National Insurance contributions.

To determine whether you have any gaps in your National Insurance record if you’re eligible to make voluntary contributions, and the associated costs, you should review your National Insurance record.

There are various reasons why you might consider paying voluntary contributions. These include:

  • Approaching State Pension age and having insufficient qualifying years to receive the full State Pension
  • Knowing that you won’t be able to accrue the necessary qualifying years for the full State Pension during your working life
  • Being self-employed, filing Self-Assessment tax returns, and not being required to pay Class 2 contributions due to minimal profits.
  • Residing outside of the UK but still desiring to be eligible for certain benefits.

While some individuals don’t make Class 2 contributions via Self-Assessment, they may still choose to make voluntary contributions. These include:

  • Individuals who operate businesses related to land or property
  • Individuals who make investments for themselves or others, but not as a business, and without receiving a fee or commission.
  • Individuals who work as examiners, moderators, invigilators, or those who create exam questions
  • Religious ministers who are not compensated with a wage or stipend

If you’re unsure about your National Insurance record or would like more information on how to fill any gaps, you can contact the National Insurance helpline or seek advice from a financial advisor.