Urgent state pension update as thousands handed extra time to boost payments by £10,000s | The Sun
THOUSANDS of Brits have been handed extra time to get a payment boost of tens of thousands.
The government has announced that more time has been given for people to plug the gaps in their National Insurance record to boost their state pension.
A government scheme which allows people to fill in gaps in their National Insurance (NI) was set to end in April.
People often have gaps if they were unemployed, on a low income, or self-employed.
You need 35 years' worth of NI Contributions (NICs) to get the full pension amount which is currently £185.15 per week.
Households were set to have until April 5 to backdate any missing payments in the last 17 years.
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After this date, they would have only been able to backdate payments by up to six years.
But today, this deadline has now been moved to July 31, 2023.
This scheme only applies to people who reached (or will reach) state pension age after April 5, 2016.
The move comes as DWP phone lines have been jammed in the last few weeks.
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A recorded message has been in place for the Future Pension Centre, which says there has been "unprecedented demand" on Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) lines.
Steve Webb, former pensions minister and partner at consultants LCP, had been calling for an extension to the deadline.
He said: “This is great news for people thinking of topping up their state pension.
"For most people, paying voluntary NI contributions to deal with a shortfall in their state pension makes excellent financial sense.
"But it is also important to make sure that extra contributions are right in your individual case as sometimes additional contributions may not boost your pension."
This is because earning back the years isn't free so your voluntary contributions do come at a price.
It works out to be worth £15.85 a week which means it costs £824.20 to buy one year of contributions.
As the state pension is currently £185.15 per week, this boost would add £5.29 per week or around £275 per year.
This means that someone who gets the boost for at least four years would make their money back and even make a profit.
Steve previously told The Sun that in an extreme case, someone who missed the deadline to fill their gaps would lose the chance to top up another 10 years of NI contributions.
This would be the period between 2006/07 to 2015/16.
Although you'd have to pay £8,242 (10 lots of £824.20), the annual state pension boost would be around £2,750.
Someone who was retired for 20 years would get back around £55,000 in total (before tax).
Though before making voluntary contributions, you need to get a pension forecast and speak to the Government's Future Pension Centre.
This is because there are some situations in which paying historic contributions wouldn't boost your state pension.
This could be the case for those who are short of a full state pension because of long periods of "contracting out".
Steve added: "People need time to talk through their options with DWP and then make the correct payment to HMRC and this extension to the deadline should give them time to do this.
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"The Government is to be commended for listening to the calls to extend the deadline."
You can check how many years of NI payments you've made and see any missing years on the government website.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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