15 October 2019

Huge surge in people topping up their state pension

4 min read

Steve Webb
Royal London



Figures published today (15th October) by HMRC show a huge surge in the last two years in the number of people paying voluntary National Insurance Contributions to top up their state pension record. 

The latest report shows that in 2018/19 £119.3m was paid in voluntary ‘Class 3’ National Insurance Contributions.  This compares with just £12.8m in 2016/17 – a ninefold increase in just two years. 


The chart shows the total figure has grown over the period:

Although a small amount of voluntary NICs is accounted for by people filling gaps to protect their entitlement to short-term benefits, the surge in payments is likely to reflect the introduction of the new state pension in 2016 which gives large numbers of people the opportunity to boost their pension through voluntary contributions.  

Commenting, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London said:

“It is great news that the message is getting out there that topping up your state pension can be a very effective way of using your money.   For those who will not otherwise get a full state pension, the cost of voluntary NICs will often be recovered in full within three or four years of retirement, as the rate is heavily subsidised by the government.  But it is important to be careful which years are bought back, as in some cases paying extra NICs will not always increase your pension”.

Royal London has published a guide to state pension top-ups which has been downloaded over 70,000 times and can be found at https://www.royallondon.com/media/good-with-your-money-guides/

For further information please contact:

Royal London Press Office

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £139 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and 4,348 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2020.