To receive the full amount of the new state pension you need to pay national insur- ance contributions (NIC) for 35 complete tax years. If you were contracted out of the second state pension, or SERPS, for any part for your working life you may receive less pension than you were expecting.
You can check how much state pension you are due to receive on gov.uk under ‘check state pension’ or through your personal
digital tax account. We can help you with this.
Where you have missed paying NIC, those contributions can often be replaced using voluntary NIC payments; Class 3 NIC for employees or Class 2 NIC for the self-employed. This top-up facility is particularly useful for those who have retired before state pension age or have missed making contributions because they lived overseas.
Spouses and civil partners of members of the armed forces, who accompanied their partners when post- ed overseas, can apply for NI credits toward their state pen- sion for tax years back to 1975-76.
If you reached pension age be- fore 6 April 2016 you can also top-up your state pension by up to £25 per week, by making lump sum payment before 6 April 2017. The amount due will depend on your age at the time you make the payment. This is a useful way of increasing the income of women who have a small state pension because they spent some years out of the workforce.