Pensions can be a confusing subject, but if you are busy with your day-to-day work and finance priorities, don’t be lulled into thinking yours will take care of itself somewhere vaguely in the future. Whether you’re an employer, self-employed, contractor, or PAYE, many people do not realise that receiving the full state pension is not an automatic process.

The government are currently allowing people to top-up unprecedented “missing” National Insurance years, safeguarding their full state pension.

However, there is a deadline to act by, so make sure you read on!

National Insurance

At ICS Accounting, we are helping increasing numbers of people ensure they qualify for the full state pension, so we’ve put together this blog to ensure you don’t miss out on vital income when it can matter most.

Understanding The New State Pension

Since its introduction on 6 April 2016, the New State Pension introduced some important changes which can affect how much state pension you are entitled to receive, according to how much National Insurance you pay over your working life.

A good ballpark figure is needing around 35 years of National Insurance credits to qualify for the full state pension. Depending on your contributions, you may qualify with fewer years of contributions, whereas any missing years (where you weren’t working, on an income below the National Insurance level, or while working abroad for example) could leave you in a shortfall, and risk not receiving the maximum entitlement.

How Soon Should I Take Action?

The answer is now! Certainly, if you’re aged 40 or over. But like all financial planning, there is no “too early”. Forewarned is forearmed, and could make a big difference to your state pension. Don’t let it be a retirement-day shock, leaving you with no alternative other than continuing working beyond your planned retirement age, or using up hard-earned savings.

Recognising that millions of people could potentially fail to qualify for the State Pension (currently £203.85 a week), the Government has introduced a scheme allowing you to top up any “missing” pension credits from years 2006 to 2016. This could make a difference of £50,000 to your ultimate state pension payouts!

Due to the unprecedented response, leaving helplines overwhelmed and increasing administrative backlogs, the Government have extended the option to ‘buy back’ certain missing pension credits to 5th April 2025. But don’t think that gives you time to think about it later. With millions seeking this unmissable opportunity to address their state pension deficit, delaying could still mean missing out, even before the deadline. Plus having longer to top up any missing years means being able to spread any contributions out into smaller, easier-to-budget instalments.

What Should I Do?

  1. Check your State Pension Forecast on, so you know where you stand, including the link: “View your National Insurance record”. Whether below retirement age or already reached, you can buy back years, but only for a limited time if you have a shortfall.
  2. Up until April 2025, you can buy National Insurance years back to 2006. After that, you can only go back a rolling six years. So after April 2025, you will permanently lose the opportunity to buy back any missing years before April 2019.
  3. You may be due National Insurance credits for free if you are missing years due to childcare, carer’s credit or illness. Make sure you also check this on before putting in any of your own money.
  4. Act in a timely manner. Your state pension forecast will be more accurate the closer you are to retirement- but more painful to do anything about it. The younger you are, the more time you’ll have to make sure your state pension is on track; either way, it is important to act well before the April 2025 cut-off to top up the maximum number of missing years.
  5. Use the experts. Because personal circumstances, work and pay can fluctuate unless you are already at pension age, can’t show you an absolute “pay this much and you’ll definitely get the full allocation”. This is where experts like ICS Accounting come in- we’ve been advising on New State Pension top-ups since before it launched! We can guide you through any complexities to a simple, personalised path that will leave you in the best financial health.
  6. Don’t panic! The April 2025 extension is great news, as is the availability of pension experts. But make sure you take advantage of both. We’re only a click or phone call away, don’t risk your retirement by leaving any queries till the last minute.
  7. Spread the news. While millions are starting to act, millions more remain unaware of this potentially life-changing opportunity and deadline. So alert friends, family, co-workers and employees to this information and the need to act now.

Protect Your Full State Pension – NOW!

ICS Accounting’s pension experts know the New State Pension inside-out. We can remove the fear and hassle, give you accurate state pension projections, and advise on hitting full qualification without the pain. Giving you peace of mind that, whatever your retirement plans, you’re not left with a nasty shortfall surprise when it’s too late.

For no-obligation advice, or to discuss your individual circumstances with one of our friendly team of experts, simply call 01524 580720, or email