Skip to main content

Kenneth Hegarty is advising people to check their national insurance record in the UK to see if they are entitled to a pension from the UK and if so that they can boost it by up to 16 years. The option to buy a UK state pension exists for anyone who has worked in the UK for three years or more, but many people who could qualify are unaware of this right, and how to exercise it.

  • Did you work for more than three years in the UK?
  • Are you now living back in Ireland?
  • Do you have/had you a National Insurance number?

Who qualifies for a UK state pension?
In order to qualify for any UK state pension, a person must have a minimum of 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record. A qualifying year is not a calendar year, it is a tax year in which you earned above the lower earnings limit and paid appropriate national insurance contributions. A person may only have paid contributions for two months in the tax year, but that year will still qualify.

If a person has less than 10 years, then they may be entitled to make voluntary contributions to bring their national insurance record to this threshold. To qualify for voluntary
contributions, a person must have lived and worked in the UK for three consecutive years.

What changes are coming extended to April 2025
Normally, an individual can pay for a maximum of six historic years missing from their
National Insurance record. However, currently, HM Revenue and Customs are allowing
people to pay back for a total of 16 years – back as far as the 2006/07 tax year.

This concession originally was due to expire on 31 July 2023 but this has been extended to April 5th 2025.

It is not possible to make voluntary contributions for years prior to 2006/07.

Every year a person adds to their National Insurance record, they are boosting their UK
state pension entitlement pro rata. Even if they qualify for all 16 years, they may opt to
just pay for some of them. They are not required to pay for every year they qualify.

Do I need to be living in the UK?

No you do not need to be UK resident to avail of paying additional voluntary contributions. Non-residents have the option of paying Class 2 voluntary contributions which are at a much lower cost than UK residents are required to pay. These contributions allow for state pension entitlement, and not for other benefits such as fuel allowance.

Can I get both a UK and Irish Pension?

Yes if you have paid contributions in both countries then you are entitled to pension from both governments.

Max pension in the UK if 35 years service is £185.15. (This is increasing to £203.85 from mid-April) If you have 10 years paid contributions that equates to 10/35 x £185.15 = £52.90 per week

How much will it cost me?

£163.80 per year for Class 2 (non resident)

£824.20 per year for Class 3 (Resident).

For example: Mary has five years of National Insurance contributions and now lives in Ireland. As she is currently under the ten years minimum requirement she can buy back five years to give her the minimum rate pension. This would cost 5 × £163.80 = £819.

Once Mary reaches retirement age in the UK she would receive £2,751 per annum until death(£52.90 x 52 weeks) for a total cost of £819 once off payment

If Mary was to buy an income for life equivalent to the minimum UK Pension of £2,751 would cost circa £75,000 on current rates.

This temporary arrangement to top up your entitlement ends on 5 April so you need to act now.

Where can I check my contributions?

If you wish to find our more, please call Kenneth on 086-4677776 or email

Leave a Reply

This will close in 0 seconds