Martin Lewis urges people to check if you can boost your State Pension by thousands - here's how

Martin Lewis has issued advice over pensions
Martin Lewis has issued advice over pensions -Credit:ITV

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis is advising people to carry out an important check to see if they can increase their State Pension by thousands of pounds.

It involves checking your National Insurance record to see if you have any gaps that need filling. Most people need 35 years - some will need more - to claim the full new State Pension. You normally need 10 years to get any sort of State Pension at all.

At the moment, you can pay to plug National Insurance gaps dating back to 2006 - but from April 2025, you'll only be able to pay for voluntary contributions for the past six tax years. Writing in the latest newsletter, Martin explained how the most you'll pay to purchase a full year class 3 National Insurance contribution is £824. This then adds up to £328 each year to your pre-tax state pension.

Explaining the impact that could have on your pension over the course of your retirement, Martin said: "A man living for the typical life expectancy would get a total £5,400 back, a woman £6,100 as life expectancy is longer." He added: "While 'boosting your state pension' doesn't sound sexy, it's the MOST LUCRATIVE THING many can do with their money."

If you're self-employed, you can buy class 2 contributions for around £160 a year. To see if you'd benefit from purchasing missing National Insurance years, you should first check both your National Insurance record and your State Pension forecast. You should then check if you can plug any gaps for free, reports The Mirror.

For example, you may be able to get free National Insurance credits if you were entitled to Child Benefit but did not claim it, or if you are a grandparent and provided childcare. There are more examples of ways you may be eligible for National Insurance credits on GOV.UK. You also need to check if the gains from buying extra years may be reduced if it pushes you into the higher 40% tax bracket.

Contact the free Future Pension Centre on 0800 731 0175 before buying any National Insurance contributions to check if you'd benefit from plugging any gaps in your National Insurance record. If you're already at State Pension age, contact the free Pension Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.