How many years national insurance contributions must I make to get a full state pension?
From April 2016 the number of qualifying years to get the full New State Pension has been 35 years, before that it was 30 years.
You can find out how many qualifying years you have by logging onto your government gateway
On the main page go to the bottom and click on ‘View your personal Tax Account’
Then go to the National Insurance box and click on ‘view gaps in your record’ you will then get the summary below and details for each year
- xx years of full contributions
- xx years to contribute before 5 April 20xx (retirement year)
- xx year when you did not contribute enough
Eligibility – New State Pension
You’ll be able to claim the new State Pension if you’re:
- a man born on or after 6 April 1951
- a woman born on or after 6 April 1953
The earliest you can get the new State Pension is when you reach State Pension age.
Your National Insurance record
You’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. They do not have to be 10 qualifying years in a row.
This means for 10 years at least one or more of the following applied to you:
- you were working and paid National Insurance contributions
- you were getting National Insurance credits for example if you were unemployed, ill or a parent or carer
- you were paying voluntary National Insurance contributions
If you’ve lived or worked abroad you might still be able to get some new State Pension.
You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the new full State Pension if you do not have a National Insurance record before 6 April 2016.
Qualifying years if you’re working
When you’re working you pay National Insurance and get a qualifying year if:
- you’re employed and earning over £183 a week from one employer
- you’re self-employed and paying National Insurance contributions
You might not pay National Insurance contributions because you’re earning less than £183 a week. You may still get a qualifying year if you earn between £120 and £183 a week from one employer.
Gaps in your National Insurance record
You may get gaps in your record if you do not pay National Insurance or do not get National Insurance credits. This could be because you were:
- employed but had low earnings
- unemployed and were not claiming benefits
- self-employed but did not pay contributions because of small profits
- living abroad
Gaps can mean you will not have enough years of National Insurance contributions to get the full State Pension (sometimes called ‘qualifying years’).
You may be able to pay voluntary contributions to fill any gaps if you’re eligible.