You may be one of the many Irish people who worked in the UK and returned to work in Ireland. If so you will have gaps in your National Insurance (NI) record which count towards you qualifying for the UK State Pension.
These gaps mean that you may not be entitled to the full UK Pension, or perhaps not entitled to any UK pension.
How do I qualify for the UK State Pension?
You need at least 10 qualifying years of National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to receive any State Pension and 35 years to get the full State Pension which is payable from age 66. The full pension will be £203.85 per week from mid-April 2023 onwards.
Voluntary National Contributions
The UK system allows you to make up qualifying years by paying voluntary contributions. Normally you can buy these going back six years from the year in question.
Changes to the UK pension were introduced in 2016 and one of these means you can buy up to 16 extra years of voluntary contributions and so fill any gaps in your NI record.
The deadline for buying up to 16 years voluntary contributions is closing though – on the 5th April 2023 – so you need to act fast!
Buying extra Voluntary National Insurance contributions (NICs) is generally a good idea as it can help you qualify for the full UK State Pension. The UK State Pension can be paid in addition to the Irish State Pension.
The cost of extra contributions will vary depending on which system you qualify under – with Class 2 being the most relevant in this case and the most affordable. They do not entitle you to the full suite of social service benefits.
To qualify for Class 2 you must have lived and paid NI contributions for at least 3 years in the UK, and worked in the UK up until your departure and currently be insurable employment outside the UK.
What do I need to do?
You need to get approval to pay Voluntary Contributions from the HM Revenue and Customs. To start this process go to their website
If living abroad read leaflet NI38 and fill in form CF83 found at the end and send back to the HMRC.
The above is based on our understanding of current legislation. We recommend you consult a Financial Adviser for personalised advice.