Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

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Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

Voluntary National Insurance contributions are useful for those who have not contributed enough full years of National Insurance contributions to qualify for their State Pension or bereavement benefits.

For every year you earn more than the lower limit for National Insurance contributions, currently around £107 a week, you will have earned one qualifying year towards your State Pension and bereavement benefits. This is assuming you have paid National Insurance contributions working in this country.

If you want to have more for your retirement, see other saving options Here

Qualifying Years

Those who may not have accrued enough years are those who are or have been unemployed, employed with earnings below the required limit, living abroad or self employed but not paying class 2 contributions due to an exemption certificate. If you think this may apply to you, you can find out how many qualifying years you have contributed by contacting the National Insurance Enquiry line.

If you do not have enough qualifying years you may want to top up your contributions through voluntary contributions, effectively buying yourself more National Insurance contribution years towards being eligible for a State Pension and bereavement benefit.

Qualifying years

The number of qualifying years needed for a State Pension depends on which year you were born,a nd whether you are a man or a woman.

  • Men born before 6 April 1945 usually need 44 qualifying years
  • Women born before 6 April 1950 usually need 39 qualifying years
  • Men born on or after 6 April 1945 need 30 qualifying years
  • Women born on or after 6 April 1950 need 30 qualifying years

Tax Free

You should be able to claim some Basic State Pension after your husband, wife or civil partner’s death assuming you were under State Pension age when they died or your husband, wife or civil partner was not entitled to Category A state retirement benefit when they died. For low earners there may also be some help available with funeral costs.

However, if you were a male with 31 qualifying years, you would potentially have to contribute an additional 13 years worth of voluntary contributions which may far outweigh the value of the bereavement benefits you would be gaining.

This table compares four saving products that can help you to save more for your retirement. We have chosen products that can bring you extra money in the future. Which one to choose from, it will depend on the type of investment you want.

Provider Product Advantages Disadvantages More Info
MoneyBuilder • Tax free end cash pay-out
• Monthly contribution starts at only £10
• Life cover included
• 15 years plan
• Early “cash in” is not an option as you will lose too much
Stocks&Shares ISA • Returns free of Income and Capital Gains Tax under ISA rules
• Monthly contribution from £30
• No restrictions on the amount of time you keep the money invested
• You can transfer the ISA
• £10,680 maximum contribution in one year
• It isn’t risk free
Cash ISA • Good online support and advising
• You can transfer the ISA
• They won’t charge for withdraws
• You know what savings rates to expect
• Tax free interest
• £5,340 maximum contribution in one year
3 year Fixed Rate ISA • Fixed rate, risk free
• You can transfer the ISA
• Tax free interest
• £5,340 maximum contribution in one year
• Limited to 3 years


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More Information on State Pensions

Additional State Pension

Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

State Pension for the Self Employed

Deferring your State Pension

What happens when you die?

Contracting Out

State Pension – FAQ


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