State pension warning as Britons miss out on £5,000 each - check your National Insurance

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State pension payments rely on National Insurance contributions, usually made throughout a person’s working lifetime. Usually, a person will need to have 10 qualifying years on their NI record to get any of the new state pension. However, to unlock the full state pension, a person will typically need a total of 35 qualifying years on their record.

Sometimes, there will be instances where a person has gaps on their National Insurance record.

This, for instance, could be a result of a career break, or low-income part time work which doesn’t meet the National Insurance threshold for a “qualifying year”.

All is not lost, though, as people can claim National Insurance credits as a replacement.

The issue, however, lies in the fact many people are not taking the opportunity to actively claim these credits, and thus their state pension could be damaged as a result.

State pension warning as Britons miss out on £5,000 each - check your National Insurance
© Getty state pension national insurance

Research undertaken by Lane Clark Peacock shows “billions” in state pension rights are being thrown away.

The study states that because 35 years of contributions or credits are needed for a full sum, reaching retirement with one year short can cost 1/35th of the full pension.

Currently, this is £5 per week, or roughly £5,000 in lost pension over a 20-year retirement.

If a person has missed out on credits for years, they could easily lose tens of thousands of pounds in state pension payments as a result.


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The study highlighted carers and parents who are not in paid work are often the ones who are missing out.

As a result, the losses are falling most heavily on women.

National Insurance credits are a solution to maintaining one’s record when the person is not making contributions.

A myriad of people will be eligible to get National Insurance credits, some automatically, while others will have to look into the matter.

State pension warning as Britons miss out on £5,000 each - check your National Insurance
© EXPRESS state pension UK

People who could be eligible include:

  • Those who are ill, disabled or on sick pay
  • Those on maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • Parents registered for Child Benefit for a child under 12, who want to transfer credits from a spouse
  • Those claiming Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit
  • Those on Jobseeker’s Allowance and not in education or working 16 hours or more a week
  • Unemployed people who are looking for work, but not on Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Family members over 16 but under state pension age caring for a child under 12

Sir Steve Webb, partner at LCP, said: “The system of National Insurance credits is vital in helping millions of people to protect their state pension at times when they are not in well paid work.

“But far too many people – and women in particular – are missing out on the credits that are there to help them.

“If we want to reduce the gender pension gap, we need to raise awareness of these important credits.

“Parents need to make sure that they claim NI credits even if they are on a high income, and couples need to make sure that they put their child benefit in the name of the lower earner.

“Carers should also claim credits even if they are not on Carer’s Allowance, as long as they are spending 20 hours per week looking after someone.

“There are billions of pounds in state pension rights being thrown away every year and the Government needs to do much more to make sure people take up what they are entitled to.”

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