How much National Insurance do you need to pay to get a State Pension?


Question markThe high profile WASPI (Women Against State Pension Increases) campaign has highlighted the confusion many people have over their state pension, especially the date from when it will be paid.

Now, research from Aegon has revealed a similar lack of knowledge in relation to the National Insurance contributions needed to qualify for a full state pension.

The survey found that:

  • 57% of people underestimated the amount of National Insurance they need to pay to get a full state pension
  • 25% of people thought they needed to contribute for less than 25 years to get their full state pension

Commenting on the figures, Kate Smith, head of pensions, at Aegon UK, said: “The fact that 80 per cent of people don’t understand the potential implications of career breaks on their state pension just highlights the sheer scale of the task ahead to properly educate people about the new state pension.”

“We already know that millions of people simply don’t know how much they are set to receive, and these new statistics should ring alarm bells.”

“While it is encouraging that the Government is taking steps to rectify this unawareness, they really have just taken the first step on a long journey.”

“To ensure no one loses out, every individual in the UK should be contacted and provided with an estimate of the state pension they are on target to receive – this will start to clear the widespread confusion and prevent people getting a nasty shock when they do reach state retirement age.”

“This approach will not only force people to engage with their pension more often, it may also prompt them to review their private provision and in doing so, take stock on whether they are on course for the retirement they aspire to.”

So what’s the answer?

It’s complicated, so bear with us!

If you retire after 6th April 2016 the new flat rate state pension will be available to you providing you have paid sufficient National Insurance.

The full flat rate State Pension is currently £155.65 per week; but exactly what you get depends on your National Insurance record. If you have paid National Insurance for:

Less than 10 years: You will not qualify for the flat rate state pension, although other state benefits may be available

Between 10 and 35 years: You will qualify for a proportionate payment, in line with the years you have paid National Insurance. For example, if you have paid for 17 ½ years, you will get 50% of the flat rate state pension

35 years or more: You will qualify for a full flat rate state pension plus any eligible ‘protected payment’

A few further points to remember:

  • Your National Insurance record doesn’t have to have been continuous, it is the total number of years which are important, even if they are not consecutive
  • The National Insurance you paid prior to 6th April 2016 will be converted and count towards your entitlement to the flat rate state pension
  • If you are not working you may qualify for National Insurance credits, for example these are available if you are unable to work due to long term sickness, claiming job seekers allowance or child benefit. You can check if you are eligible by clicking here

Check your entitlement

The new state pension rules are hugely complicated.

The best way to confirm the amount you are on track to receive is to request a state pension forecast, which can be done by clicking here.

Do you have a shortfall?

If you are not on track to get the full flat rate state pension you can plug gaps in your National Insurance record by making voluntary contributions.

You need to find out exactly how much National Insurance you have paid and the size of the gaps; you can do this by clicking here, which will also tell you the cost of plugging any gaps.

You should also confirm whether or not you could have applied for National Insurance credits.

We are here to help

If you are confused by the new state pension, and who wouldn’t be? We are here to help.

Call us today on 0115 933 8433 and ask for Sarah or Bev, alternatively, email us at