Urgent warning as thousands could be missing out on £55,000 pension boost – see if you need act before April deadline | The Sun

THOUSANDS of savers have been warned to urgently check if they're missing out on a £55,000 pension boost.

If you're aged between 45 and 70, you need to check if you can increase your state pension using a government scheme.

To get the full amount of state pension, you need to pay 35 years worth of  National Insurance contributions.

The government is allowing people to fill in any gaps in their National Insurance – but the scheme closes in April.

People often have gaps if they were unemployed, on a low income, or self-employed.

Normally, you are only allowed to fill in gaps up to six years previously – so back to 2016.

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But the government is allowing savers to fill in missing years dating back to 2006 – but only until April.

Someone with 10 missing years could pay out a little over £8,000 to fix the gaps but see a boost of £55,000 in state pension over a typical 20-year retirement.

But wealth manager Quilter has warned thousands – if not potentially millions – of people could be missing out on the pension boost.

Exclusive data shared with The Sun shows that only an average of 123,000 people per year filled in gaps in their state pension between the 2016/17 tax year to the 2020/21 tax year.

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Just 64,800 people topped up their state pension in 2020/21 – the lowest amount over the five year period.

According to latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, approximately 3.8million people miss out on the full state pension.

Quilter said it is likely that a large majority of these people won't have received the full state pension because they didn't fill in NIC gaps.

Quilter head of retirement policy Jon Greer said: "Once April arrives you will have missed a golden opportunity to fill gaps that if left unfilled could have a material impact on your retirement provision so act now if you possibly can."

How to act now

National insurance contributions are usually taken directly from your wages if you're employed or via self-assessment for the self-employed.

You can check how many years of NI payments you've made and see any missing years on the government website.

Though before making voluntary contributions, you need to get a pension forecast and speak to the Government's Future Pension Centre.

The body will be able to tell you whether it's worth you paying for extra qualifying years, as it may not be beneficial for everyone.

Earning back the years isn't free so your voluntary contributions do come at a price.

It works out to be worth £15.85 a week which means it costs £824.20 to buy one year of contributions.

This will add £275 to your state pension every year.

But of course, there are risks – if you happened to die before the three years are up then you will have wasted the money, the savings experts explained. 

It's important to check if gaps in your contributions – for example when you're not working and looking after children – can be made up by claiming NI credits instead.

Thousands are thought to be missing out on these credits, leaving them worse off in retirement.

You can check the full list of who's eligible for claiming credits on the government website.

It explains the circumstances where you'll need to claim and when you'll get it automatically.

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Besides topping up missing NI payments, we explain other ways you can boost your state pension by up to £700 a year.

Plus, pensioners on a low income could get extra help from pension credit – here's how.

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