Boost State Pension by Plugging Gaps in National Insurance

IMPORTANT: the video mentions the original deadline in April 2023. This has now been extended to 5th April 2025.

Do you have gaps in your National Insurance record? If so, it could mean that you could get a lower State Pension when you reach state retirement age, particularly if you are aged between approximately 45 and 70 at the moment. Generally speaking, you need 10 years of contributions for a basic state pension and around 30 to 35 years for a full state pension. It does vary by circumstance though and, even with gaps, some people might have enough qualifying years for the full state pension already.

Urgently Check Whether You Have National Insurance Gaps

Our advice is to urgently check whether you do have any gaps in your National Insurance record. If so, in many cases it would be wise to make some one-off payments to plug any gaps for the years 2006 to 2016. However, there is limited time to do so despite the deadline for this opportunity having been extended from early April to the end of July 2023 [UPDATE: This has now been extended again to 5th April 2025]. Thereafter, the chance to fix all 11 years from 2006 to 2016 will be gone forever.

Key Points:

  • For a limited time, people can pay for National Insurance gaps going back to 2006/7. The cost will be around £824 per full year. This sounds significant but, depending on a number of factors, could potentially repay much more in the long run. Watch the Martin Lewis video above to see how well it could work for many.
  • After 5th April 2025, you will only be able to go back to 2017/18 and early indications are that the cost may increase to around £907 per year.
  • For some years, you may only be missing a partial payment. In the video, you’ll see a real example where someone needed to pay only £15.40 in order to complete a year’s gap in National Insurance. This small payment will pay for itself many times over for the person involved.

How to Plug Gaps in National Insurance Records & Boost State Pensions

  • Go to and follow the on-screen instructions to check your state pension forecast and see any missing years etc.
  • A paper BR19 form can alternatively be downloaded, filled in and posted, but applying online through the Government Gateway (above) is far quicker and easier.
  • Before buying any missing years, check if you already have enough qualifying years.
  • Before buying, check whether you are due free credits. You can check this via the National Insurance Credits’ section of You may get those years back without having to pay for them if you meet certain criteria.
  • It’s also sensible to contact the Government’s free ‘Future Pension Centre’ because you ideally need a bespoke calculation to see whether buying missing years is good for you. This is a complex topic and the more general guidelines may not apply or work best for everybody.
  • If you do decide to buy some missing years, check to see if you can inexpensively top up years already partially paid. Paying off already-partially-paid years is cheaper than buying whole years.
  • If more qualifying years are needed, they can be purchased online.
  • If you’re below the age groups suggested above, it’s also well worth watching the 9-minute video as there are some useful tips for younger people too.

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