National Insurance is not what most people are thinking about at this time of the year. However, at the time when one is thinking about things to do in the New Year, this may be of interest and may propel someone into checking their situation and making appropriate arrangements for their future state pension. Do mention this to anyone who you think may benefit.
I had raised the topic at one of our knitting group's evenings some time ago, and was delighted to hear last Tuesday, that another member had had a great result when she decided that she would check her situation. She found out that she already had over 30 qualifying years and could stop her voluntary contributions.....£30 per month is a lot of yarn which can now be stashed away, or of course there are other treats or savings which this can be put to.
Recently the government has changed the number of qualifying years for full state pension to 30. Years not at work but looking after children, I think after 1978, when the woman's name was on the 'child allowance book' do count but you need to claim these. So if you are paying voluntary contributions or know someone who is, it is worth checking your individual records. You will be sent a pension forecast, so do ring up 0845 300168. You will need your National Insurance Number. You can also go on line for a forecast. Unless you check and know exactly where you stand you could continue to pay when there is no need to. You can also find out whether it is worth paying for any incomplete years to make up to full pension. The rates will be going up after April 2009, so it is probably best to get things sorted out sooner rather than later.
There may be of course some chaps, who may have thought they would not have a full pension due to missing years. No credits are given for years at University and with early retirement, and no work some men will also benefit from this change, so they may also be pleasantly surprised by the results of a current check on their future state pension benefits.