A fan of Martin Lewis has explained how she boosted her state pension by more than £2,500 a year after following his advice.
In a recent Martin Lewis Podcast episode, the Money Saving Expert shared a letter he had received from a listener who had started making voluntary National Insurance Contributions (NIC).
Her voluntary National Insurance Contributions meant she was able to increase her state pension by roughly £49 a week.
The listener wrote to the Martin Lewis Podcast saying: "Good news, I checked my National Insurance Contributions and found out that I have eight years missing.
"I’ve now paid the last six years and will pay the next two years when possible - this has made a difference to my state pension of around £49 a week which is considerable.
"I would have never known without listening to the podcast."
When responding to the letter, Martin noted that she had purchased six years' worth of National Insurance Contributions which would’ve cost around £4,800.
The Money Saving Expert has frequently urged people to check their National Insurance Contributions as many could be missing out thousands on their state pension when they start to claim it at 66 years.
In the UK, to get the full state pension when you retire, you need 35 years' worth of National Insurance Contributions.
However, you may sometimes end up with gaps in your National Insurance record due to being unemployed or having low earnings, being self-employed and not earning enough, or living or working outside the UK.
You can check how many years of National Insurance payments you've made and see any missing years on the Government website.
If you don't have enough National Insurance Contributions to get the full state pension, or even any state pension at all, then you can choose to buy extra credits.
You can do this before you reach the state pension age and once you reach it.
You can do this by buying purchasing class 3 National Insurance credits to fill gaps at a cost of £15.85 a week for the 2022/23 financial year.
In order to get a full week’s worth of credits you will need to pay £824.20.
Speaking on The Martin Lewis Podcast previously, the Money Saving Expert explained: “A voluntary national insurance year costs around £800 but it adds £275 a year to your state pension, which means if you live just three years after state pension age or if you are already at state pension age, after buying the extra year then you’re even.
“A man who gets to age 66 will typically live 19 more years. So each £800, in that case, would get him £5,300 back.
“And that’s before the fact that it’s normally linked with inflation obviously, but that’s another discussion at the moment for another day.
“For a woman, because women live longer, for 21 more years at the same age, each £800 would be worth £5,800 extra.”
If you decide to do this, you will need to be aware that you can only pay for gaps in your record from the last six years.
You should also know that the rules on how much you pay are also slightly different if you're self-employed and buying class 2 contributions.
However, before you pay for the missed years, Martin said it's important to check whether you're due any free National Insurance credits which you can check on the GOV.UK website.