Welcome to this week’s “I Hate Numbers” video, where we’ll delve into Maximising Your UK State Pension. Our focus will be on national insurance contributions and their link to the UK state pension. Additionally, we’ll share valuable tips on how to supplement and maximise your state pension entitlement. Let’s get started!

Understanding the UK State Pension:

The UK state pension consists of two types: the basic state pension and the new state pension. These pensions are not government handouts; they are built on your contributions and managed by the UK government.

Basic State Pension

For those born before April 6, 1951 (males) or April 6, 1953 (females), the basic state pension applies, currently around £156.320 er week for the year 23-24 onwards.

New State Pension

If you were born after April 6, 1951 (males) or April 6, 1953 (females), you’ll receive the new state pension, currently £203.85 per week.

Qualifying National Insurance Contributions

The amount you receive under these pensions depends on your qualifying national insurance contributions. For those men born before 1951, and women before 1953, 30 years are needed for the full basic state pension. If you were born after, you’ll require 35 qualifying years for the maximum new state pension. The minimum is 10 qualifying years, offering a proportional amount.

Determining Your Standing

To assess your pension entitlements, conduct a pension forecast by logging into your personal tax account. If you don’t have one, register through the link provided in the show notes. This will help you identify any gaps in your national insurance contributions.

Extending Contribution Top-Ups

Historically, individuals could buy qualifying years of national insurance contributions going back to 2006. The initial deadline was April 5, 2023, later extended to July 31, 2023, and further to April 5, 2025. Take advantage of this extended timeline to bridge any contribution gaps.

Supplementing National Insurance Contributions

For self-employed individuals and freelancers, the relevant contribution is class two national insurance, approximately £164 for 23-24.  Voluntarily paying this ensures eligibility for the state pension and other state-based benefits.

For employed individuals, class one national insurance applies. Those running a company without an official payroll should register for PAYE, setting an annual salary of around £10,000 to receive class one contributions.

Considering the Cost-Benefit

If approaching retirement age (67 for those born after April 1960), buying the required contributions may be necessary. The cost per week is £17.45 per year, so weigh this against the extra state pension you’ll receive.


Maximising your UK state pension is essential for a comfortable retirement. Understand the types of state pensions, qualifying years, and how to bridge contribution gaps. Perform a pension forecast to assess your standing and make the most of your entitlements. Remember, the state pension may not be your sole retirement income, so ensure you have other provisions in place as well. Take charge of your future and secure the maximum benefits you deserve.

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