State pension: Qualifying national insurance years depend on earnings – do you qualify?

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STATE PENSION is dependent on national insurance contributions. Under the new system, a certain amount of qualifying years will be needed to receive any income. However, what counts as a “qualifying” year may not be as obvious as it seems.

State pension pays a monthly income so long as the receiver has enough national insurance contributions. A minimum of 10 years will be needed to receive any income and 35 years will be needed for the full amount.

Currently, the full state pension is £168.60 per week but this will soon rise.



In the new tax year, state pension payments of all kinds will rise by 3.9 percent.

This means the full amount will rise to £175.20 a week which equates to just over £9,000 a year.

Many people may assume they understand what a qualifying year is but the government has a determining criteria in place.

The government detail that for a year to be qualifying the person must either be:

  • Employed and earning over £166 a week from one employer
  • Self-employed and paying national insurance contributions

This is important to note because there may be some people earning less than £166 a week who are not aware that they’re not making full contributions.

Some people may assume that people not working at all will not receive any credits but this is not necessarily the case.

People may still get national insurance credit if they cannot work due to things like illness, disability or unemployment.

In some of these cases, national insurance credits can be received through other means such as:

  • Claiming child benefit for children under 16
  • Getting jobseekers allowance or employment and support allowance
  • Receiving carer’s allowance

On top of this, it is possible to pay voluntary national insurance contributions if gaps exist.

The government can provide people with a state pension forecast which will tell them how much income they may get.

If the person wishes to top up their national insurance record they can do so by paying class two or class three contributions.



It should be noted that while these payments will likely boost state pension payments they will not be cost free.

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