State pension boost: How you could increase entitlement – but time limit may apply

Expert Gareth Shaw offers advice on building entitlement to the state pension

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In order to get the maximum state pension, you need 35 years’ worth of national insurance contributions. However, those people who are short of these years still have an opportunity to boost their pensions.

Money saving expert Gareth Shaw spoke on The Which? Money Podcast and gave listeners tips on how to boost their pension pots.

He said: “You can actually top up your national insurance contributions if you can buy voluntary class three National Insurance contributions.

“That will help you build up your entitlement to the state pension.

“Now you can’t do that for ever … but you can fill gaps in your National Insurance record from up to six years previously.

“Depending on your age you might be able to fill back further than that we’ve got loads of information on our website about this this.

“The cost is about £15.13 a week so you’ll be able to buy a week’s worth of national insurance contributions if you’re missing a whole year, you buy 52 weeks’ worth and so on.”

Checking one’s state pension regularly is important so it is clear how many National Insurance contributions a person has.

A person can know whether they have any gaps by getting a state pension forecast, and they can also get pointers on how to fill those gaps.

All this information is available on

Mr Shaw gave a second tip for boosting state pension income, and this is done through deferral.

“This is delaying when you collect the state pension, and the government will pay you interest on your state pension for every year that you defer it,” he said.

“If you are due to qualify for the state pension from this year onwards, you get the deferral rate of one percent for every nine weeks you defer.

“That’s the equivalent of about 5.8 percent per year and that increase is applied to your state pension.

“You need to defer for at least nine weeks to qualify for an uplift. In the end you’ll see that the weekly amount that you get actually grows.”

Mr Shaw urged Britons to check as a starting point.

This will let people know whether they should be taking action to boost their state pensions.

He said: “To check your state pension you’ll need to register for a government gateway.

“You can look at exactly how much you’re due to get, when you’re due to get it, whether you’ve got any gaps.

“Whether you had any deductions because you might have been contracted out of the second state pension.

“All of that information will be there on the governments website.

“That should be a starting point to see whether or not to be taking action to boost your state pension.”

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