Connect with us


Martin Lewis helped me boost my pension by £2,548 a year – how you can too

MARTIN Lewis revealed how he helped boost a listeners pension pot by £2,548 a year in his latest BBC podcast.

The Money Saving Expert fan wrote in to explain how she’d boosted her pension pot by making voluntary National Insurance contributions.

According to Martin, people aged between 45 and 70 may find buying extra National Insurance years the best way to boost their state pension

The listener wrote in to the Martin Lewis Podcast and said: “Good news, I checked my NI contributions and found out that I have eight years missing.

“I’ve now paid the last six years and will pay the next two years when possible – this has made a difference to my state pension of around £49 a week which is considerable.

“I would have never known without listening to the podcast.”

But thousands of people could still be missing out on hundreds of pounds a year in retirement.

State Pension payments are made once you turn 66 – if you qualify.

But you’ll need to have 10 years of National Insurance contributions to get any money at all.

And to get the maximum amount worth £185.15 under the new pension system, you’ll need 35 years of recorded NICs.

In response to the listener’s letter, Martin said: “So she’s bought six years worth which will as an estimated value of around £4,800 and her increase was £49 a week so that’s around a £2,500 increase.

And talking of this success the consumer champion said: “It is an incredibly important listen for anybody aged 45-70 because the window on being able to buy back a lot of those contributions shuts in April.”

The good news is that you can take action now so you don’t miss out.

We’ve explained below how to check if you’ve missed any National Insurance contributions and how to buy them back.

How can I check if I’ve missed any National Insurance contributions?

You may get gaps in your record if you do not pay National Insurance because you were:

  • Employed but had low earnings
  • Unemployed and not claiming benefits
  • Self-employed but did not pay contributions because of small profits
  • Living or working outside the UK

You can check how many years of NI payments you’ve made and see any missing years on the government website.

You can also request a statement online, over the phone or by post, but writing to:

National Insurance Contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs

The closer you get to retirement, the more important it is to check how many years you have.

Make extra National Insurance contributions to fill gaps

If you don’t have enough national insurance contributions to get the full state pension, or even any state pension at all, then you can choose to buy extra credits.

You can do this before the state pension age and once you reach it.

Most people will do this by buying what’s known as class 3 national insurance credits to fill gaps in their record at a cost of £15.85 a week for the 2022/23 financial year.

So to get a whole year’s worth, you’d pay £824.20.

For those with gaps in their record on or after April 6, 2016, you can add 1/35 to your state pension for life.

This may sound like a lot, but it would boost your state pension by over £200 each year.

This means it would take less than four years of getting more from the state pension to recoup the cash you’d have to shell out for contributions in the first place – and you would continue to get this boosted state pension for the rest of your life.

Just bear in mind that you can usually only pay for gaps in your national insurance record from the past six years – but some can pay for more.

The rules on how much you pay are also slightly different if you’re self-employed and buying class 2 contributions.

You can find out more about making voluntary National insurance contributions from

The rules are complex so it could be worth seeking financial advice or  contacting the Future Pension Centre to find out if you’ll benefit from making extra payments.

You can also avoid gaps by claiming national insurance credits

National Insurance credits are a way of maintaining your National Insurance record when you are not making National Insurance contributions through work. 

They help to build up qualifying years over time, which you can use to make you eligible for state pension and other benefits.

You can get National Insurance credits if the following applies:

  • You’re on Jobseeker’s Allowance and not in education or working 16 hours or more a week or you’re unemployed and looking for work, but not on Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • You’re ill, disabled or on sick pay
  • You’re on maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • You’re a parent who has registered for child benefit for a kid under 12, you want to transfer credits from a spouse or you’re a foster carer
  • You’re a carer on carer’s allowance, on Income Support and providing regular and substantial care or you’re caring for one or more sick or disabled person for at least 20 hours a week
  • You’re a family member over 16 but under State Pension age and you’re caring for a child under 12 
  • You’re on working tax credit or universal credit
  • You’re on a training course or jury service
  • Your partner is in the armed forces
  • You’ve been wrongly imprisoned

You can check the full list of who’s eligible for claiming credits on the government website.

It explains the circumstances where you’ll need to claim and when you’ll get it automatically.

You’ll either need to apply online or have to contact your local Job Centre to receive the credits.

You can check how to apply for each one on the same page.

You can find out more about making voluntary National insurance contributions from gov.UK.

The rules are complex so it could be worth seeking financial advice or contacting the Future Pension Centre to find out if you’ll benefit from making extra payments.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Must See


More in Money