Martin Lewis issues 'important' message to those under 73 to check if they can turn £800 into £5,400

Martin Lewis

Britons can currently pay to plug their National Insurance gaps back to 2006

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 08/05/2024

- 14:54

Britons can pay to plug their National Insurance gaps back to 2006, however the deadline to do this is fast approaching

Martin Lewis has warned “the clock is ticking” for those approaching retirement to check if they can boost their state pension by thousands.

The money saving expert has issued an 'important' National Insurance warning to people under 73.

Writing in the latest newsletter, Lewis wrote: “Important. Are you under age 73?

“You may be able to pay £800, or far less, to gain £5,400 or more, but the clock's ticking!

“It's all about extra National Insurance (NI) years”.

With less than a year remaining, individuals are urged to check their entitlement and address any National Insurance contribution gaps before April next year.

Couple looking at document

Lewis explained how the most people will pay to purchase a full year class 3 National Insurance contribution is £824


Currently people can plug gaps back to 2006, but from April 2025, they will only be able to pay for voluntary contributions for the past six tax years.

To qualify for any state pension, Britons need at least 10 qualifying years of contributions, while a full new state pension, now increased to £221.20, requires at least 35 qualifying years.

Lewis explained how the most people will pay to purchase a full year class 3 National Insurance contribution is £824.

This then adds up to £328 each year to their pre-tax state pension.

Explaining the impact that this could have on one’s pension over the course of their retirement, the money saving expert said: "A man living for the typical life expectancy would get a total £5,400 back, a woman £6,100 as life expectancy is longer."

He added: "While 'boosting your state pension' doesn't sound sexy, it's the MOST LUCRATIVE THING many can do with their money."

Just because someone has paid their National Insurance, it does not automatically mean they have earned a qualifying year, there is a set criteria to take into account.

A qualifying year is one in which someone was:

  • working and made National Insurance contributions
  • getting National Insurance credits for example if they were unemployed, ill or a parent or carer
  • paying voluntary National Insurance contributions

Lewis explained his five steps to work out if one should, and how to buy NI years.

  1. Check their National Insurance record to see if they’re missing years since 2006?
  2. Check if they can plug NI gaps for free - it could save £1,000s i.e is there child Benefit that has not been claimed or have grandparents (or other family members) provided childcare?
  3. Is it worth buying the extra years missing from 2006 to 2018? This often depends on their age. The younger individuals are, the more time they have to earn enough qualifying years before they reach state pension age
  4. The most people will pay for the old years is £824. This can typically net someone an 'inflation-proofed' £5,000+.
  5. To avoid paying for unnecessary years, Britons are encouraged to speak to someone before they buy.


Britons can contact the free Future Pension Centre on 0800 731 0175 before buying any National Insurance contributions to check if they would benefit from plugging any gaps in their National Insurance record.

If they are already at state pension age, they can contact the free Pension Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.

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