Qualifying year for state pension purposes

Produced by Tolley
  • (Updated for Budget 2021)

The following Personal Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Qualifying year for state pension purposes
  • Why is this important?
  • State pension age
  • How many qualifying years are needed?
  • What is a qualifying year?
  • Pay sufficient NIC
  • Receive NIC credits
  • How to identify a deficient year
  • HMRC deficiency notice
  • Pension forecast
  • More...

Qualifying year for state pension purposes

Why is this important?

In order to get a full basic state pension, an individual must have paid sufficient national insurance contributions (NIC) for a minimum number of qualifying years in their working life. As NIC cannot be paid in the tax year before the individual reaches the age of 16, or in a tax year after state pension age is achieved, those ages define the period of working life for NIC purposes.

State pension age

The age at which individuals are entitled to a state pension is gradually increasing.

For men born before 6 December 1953 (accelerated from the previous date of 6 April 1959), the state pension age is 65 years. For those born after this date, the state pension age increases in tranches, reaching 68 years for those born after 6 April 1978.

For women born after 6 April 1950, the state pension age has increased gradually from 60 years until it reached 65 years for those born between 6 November 1953 and 5 December 1953. From then on, the state pension age for a woman is aligned to that of a man and so will eventually reach 68 years for those born after 6 April 1978.

There is a state pension age calculator on the GOV.UK website.

There is a statutory requirement for the state pension age to be reviewed at least every six years. The first such review was published in March 2017.

In the July 2017 response to the Cridland review, the Government proposed that the state pension age of 68 be brought forward such that those born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978 will be affected, with the state pension age increasing gradually from 67 to 68 depending on the date of birth. There are no current proposals to increase the state pension age beyond 68, although the Cridland review (section 4.2.3) speculates that further rises will be needed in due course.

For more details of the state

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