On 29 April 2024, HMRC introduced a new digital service, enabling taxpayers to conveniently check their State Pension forecast and make voluntary contributions to address gaps in their National Insurance (NI) record.

Rocket science

Why is your National Insurance record important?

  • An individual's State Pension entitlement is determined by their National Insurance (NI) record. 
  • To claim any State Pension, individuals usually need at least 10 qualifying years on their NI record. To claim a full state pension under the ‘new State Pension’ rules, an individual needs at least 35 qualifying years. 
  • Some individuals have gaps in their NI record, this can occur if they have:
    • Not received NI credits.
    • Not paid any NI contributions.
    • Not paid sufficient NI contributions.
  • Individuals can fill gaps in their NI records by making voluntary contributions.
  • Usually, individuals can only pay voluntary contributions for the previous six tax years.
  • However, until 5 April 2025, Eligible individuals are able to pay voluntary contributions to make up gaps in their NI record between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2018.
  • It's not always worth making full voluntary contributions, you need to work out what level of voluntary contribution will provide the most benefit. See, Pension: Check National Insurance records by 5 April 2025.

HMRC’s new digital 'Check your State Pension Forecast Service'

  • The new service will now allow individuals to: 
    • Identify gaps in their NI records.  
    • Obtain details of their pension forecast.
    • Understand how much their State Pension could increase by if voluntary contributions were made.
    • Choose which tax years they would like to make voluntary contributions for. 
    • Make secure payments through the service and receive confirmation upon successful receipt.
  • The service can be accessed using the Check your State Pension forecast  (link) via
    • GOV.UK.
    • The HMRC app.
  • Customers will need to log in to the new digital service using their Personal Tax Account login details. Those without an online HMRC account can register on GOV.UK.
  • Previously taxpayers would be required to phone HMRC to obtain a reference number before making a voluntary contribution, this will no longer be required for those using the new digital service. 
  • This service is not available to the following individuals:
    • Individuals who are already receiving their State Pension.
    • The self-employed or individuals currently living outside the UK with gaps incurred while working abroad.

Useful guides on this topic

Pension: Check National Insurance records by 5 April 2025
The government has extended the voluntary National Insurance contribution deadline again, from 31 July 2023 to 5 April 2025. This gives taxpayers more time to fill gaps in their records to maximise their future State Pension benefits.

State Pension Age
The state pension age is gradually being increased. What is the current state pension age? How often is it reviewed?

Personal Tax Account
What is a Personal Tax Account? How do I get one? What can I do with it?

National Insurance: Rates
What are the current National Insurance rates? What rates will apply to next year? 

National Insurance: What's the maximum payable?
How are National Insurance Contributions (NICs) limited? What is the maximum payable? What different rules apply to employment and self-employment income? 

External link

Check your State Pension forecast 

Download the HMRC App