The new State Pension

6. Your National Insurance record and your State Pension

Your new State Pension is based on your National Insurance record when you reach State Pension age.

You’ll usually need to have 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any new State Pension.

You may get less than the new full State Pension if you were contracted out before 6 April 2016.

You may get more than the new full State Pension if you would have had over a certain amount of Additional State Pension under the old rules.

You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the new full State Pension if you don’t 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 £157 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 £157 a week. You may still get a qualifying year if you earn between £113 and £157 a week from one employer.

Qualifying years if you’re not working

You may get National Insurance credits if you can’t work - eg because of illness or disability, or if you’re a carer or you’re unemployed.

For example, you can get National Insurance credits if you:

  • claim Child Benefit for a child under 12 (or under 16 before 2010)
  • get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • get Carer’s Allowance

You’re not working or getting National Insurance credits

You might be able to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions if you’re not in one of these groups but want to increase your State Pension amount.

Gaps in your National Insurance record

You can have gaps in your National Insurance record and still get the full new State Pension.

You can get a State Pension statement which will tell you how much State Pension you may get. You can then apply for a National Insurance statement from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check if your record has gaps.

You may be able to make voluntary National Insurance contributions if you have gaps in your National Insurance record that would prevent you from getting the full new State Pension.