Home Finance Martin Lewis says couples can add massive £149,500 to state pension now

Martin Lewis says couples can add massive £149,500 to state pension now

Martin Lewis says time is running out for couples to get as much as £149,500 added to their state pension pot.

That’s because of a little known rule about state pension eligibility which uses your National Insurance contributions record to determine how much money you’ll be paid per week once you retire.

And right now you only have a few months left to check and fill in missing years in your NI record that could add as much as £149,500 to a couple’s state pension.

That’s because from now until April, the government will allow people to buy back up to 13 years of missing National Insurance records, but after April, any records before 2019 will be shut off and you won’t be able to buy them any more.

That means you would miss out on the chance to complete your National Insurance record.

Each year you’re missing – for example if you didn’t earn enough, or you were ill or abroad – could add as much as £5,400 per year to your state pension if you’re male and £6,100 per year if you’re female, based on average life expectancy.

If you’re missing 13 years and buy them all back, that makes a total of £79,300 extra in your state pension if you’re female and £70,200 if you’re male, so a couple could potentially add £149,500 to their state pension – a huge, huge difference.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis is urging people to check because it may take time to save up the £800 per year it costs to buy back missing years on your record.

Martin returned to his ITV1 The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on Tuesday night for a one-off special in which he issued an urgent warning.

There, Martin heard from a couple who decided to look into their National Insurance contributions after watching Martin’s show. They found their pension forecast was about £172 per week.

But by paying about £4,000 each to the government, they increased each of their state pensions by £1,612 per year.

“Over a 20 year period collectively that’ll be nearly £64,000,” the man told Martin. “That’s not how much we’ll get, that’s how much extra we’ll get on top of what we would have got if we hadn’t paid the money.”

Of course, they didn’t have 13 missing years, so the total for someone in that situation is even higher at £149,500 but you need to get in before the deadline.

Martin added: “This is a serious amount of cash and I’m going to try to take you through it step by step.

“There is a deadline coming. This is about the fact that each £800 you pay you could gain £5,400 or more. It’s all about the new state pension that came in in 2016.

“That is for men born after April 5 1951 and women born after April 5 1953.

“To get the full state pension you need to have 35-ish qualifying national insurance years.

“And it is a big ish, it’s not 35 years, it varies on lots of factors so just see that as an ish.

“You gain National Insurance years usually by working, currently you have to earn over £125 a week to get them.

“But millions of people are missing National Insurance years. You might have spent years abroad, you might have had a low income, a career break…

“So my clarion call today is about check now if you can buy missing years.

“It ends this tax year, April 5 2025, until then you can buy back missing years to 2006, after the transitional arrangements end you can only buy back six years, so there are 13 missing years that are going to close this year.”

Martin added that it’s ‘really important’ to prepare yourself.

Martin said that anyone missing years should check gov.uk and check your National Insurance record, then go to state pension summary and see if you’re on track for the full state pension – £221.20 per week.

If you don’t have the full amount, you can look at any missing years back to 2006 but you only have until next April to do it, and it costs up to £800 per year and can take some time to sort – so get onto it as soon as possible.

The closer you are to retirement age, the more easy it is to assess how worthwhile it is for you.

Martin added: “If you’re nearly at the state pension age it’s easy to see, it’s pretty obvious that you should be buying them.”


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