How to ensure you’re still eligible for a full State Pension, despite regulation changes

Since 2016, the full new State Pension regulations have been altered. Find out what you have to do to stay eligible before the deadline in April 2023.

While it might not provide enough on its own for you to maintain the lifestyle you want, the State Pension will provide a solid bedrock of retirement income, rising annually to keep pace with the cost of living.

That said, the State Pension acts as a foundational source of income when you retire, helping to provide you with the life you deserve after you stop working.

You might be surprised to learn that regulation changes, which were implemented in 2016, could mean you aren’t eligible for the full new State Pension, even if you believe you have worked enough qualifying years.

So, read on to learn about how these regulation changes could affect you, and how to prepare for them.

In order to access the full new State Pension, you need to have worked for 35 “qualifying years”

As of the 2022/23 tax year, the full new State Pension you could receive stands at £185.15 a week – totalling £9,627.80 a year. Of course, whether you are eligible for the full new State Pension depends on how many “qualifying years” you have worked, among other factors.

The amount you may receive depends on the number of “qualifying years” you have worked. If you have completed 35 years or more, you will become eligible for the full new State Pension.

These qualifying years count if you were employed and earning more than £183 a week, self-employed, or receiving some benefits.

If you are unsure of your eligibility when it comes to the new State Pension, you can check your National Insurance record on the government website.

Paying voluntary National Insurance contributions can make you eligible for the full new State Pension

Over the course of your life, there may have been times when you weren’t paying NICs either voluntarily or through your employer. So, there might be gaps in your NI record that might impede your eligibility for the full State Pension.

These gaps might be due to:

  • Giving up work for a number of years in order to have or raise children
  • Years in which you were setting up a new business, so not technically earning a profit
  • Working abroad for a number of years.

If you are not eligible for the full new State Pension, and you would like to be, you can pay voluntary National Insurance contributions (NICs) to make up the difference.

If you’re approaching retirement in the coming few years, it could be constructive to check your NI record now, and make any voluntary contributions you can.

Generally, you can pay for the previous six years’ worth of NICs, and the deadline is the start of the new tax year. If you need help planning your voluntary NICs, your Kellands financial planner can advise you on this process.

Although the full State Pension might not be enough to fund your entire lifestyle when you retire, investing in your future by paying voluntary NICs now could be a smart move.

Indeed, having a guaranteed monthly income when you stop working could help you shoulder basic household costs, especially if you are retiring soon, while inflation may still be high.

New regulations mean you may need to pay voluntary NICs before 5 April 2023

When the new State Pension was implemented in 2016, it gave individuals the opportunity to back-fill any gaps in their NICs between April 2006 and April 2016.

This new State Pension allows those who might have been previously ineligible for the full payments to ensure a guaranteed income for their future.

The opportunity to back-fill NICs between 2006 and 2016 applies only if:

  • As a man, you were born after 5 April 1951
  • As a woman, you were born after 5 April 1953.

However, crucially, you only have until April 2023 to make these voluntary NICs. After 5 April 2023 you’ll only be able to pay for voluntary contributions for the past six years.

So, if you have not yet checked your State Pension forecast, now is the time to review your circumstances and back-fill your NICs if necessary. If you are too late, you may not be able to claim the full State Pension down the line, which could affect your retirement lifestyle in the years to come.

Get in touch

Missing out on the full new State Pension simply due to being unaware of regulation changes could affect your wealth down the line.

With the help of your Kellands financial planner, you may be able to make up the difference in NICs before the deadline in April 2023.

To review your State Pension circumstances, email us at, or call 0161 929 8838.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.


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