Qualifying year for state pension purposes

By Tolley

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

  • Qualifying year for state pension purposes
  • Why is this important?
  • How many qualifying years are needed?
  • What is a qualifying year?
  • How to identify a deficient year
  • Should the individual pay NIC to ensure the year qualifies?
  • Paying voluntary contributions
  • Action before year-end

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 his 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 (accelerated from the previous date of 5 April 1955). From then on, the state pension age for a woman is aligned to that of a man, 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.

Pensions Act 2014, s 27 (subscription sensitive)

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

More on National insurance contributions: