top of page

UK State Pensions  

This tax year (2023-2024) the full UK state pension is £203.85 a week (£10,600 a year). You need 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. You'll need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension. Since the new state pension was introduced, you can no longer build up an additional state pension - nor can you 'contract-out' of it to get a higher private pension.

Check National Insurance Record


Drawing a

state pension

Top-up missed contributions


Receiving a pension overseas


Check NI Rates

and allowances


Plan your



Forecast your

state pension



Time is Running Out!.png


The State Pension is changing on 6th April 2025

New State Pension rules set to come into force from 6th April 2023 will restrict the number of years voluntary contributions you can make. Due to an unprecedented surge in applications, HMRC were forced to extend the deadline to 6th April 2025. Missing the revised deadline could mean you lose out on up to 10 years of entitlement, which is worth over £55,000 of State Pension benefit. 

Whether you are looking to retire abroad or in the UK, your National Insurance contributions will impact how much State Pension you receive. Although the State Pension is probably not enough to support you financially through retirement, by making voluntary contributions of just £164.80 per year, you can backdate National Insurance while you are living abroad and benefit from an incredibly cost-effective way of topping up your retirement income. 


What is the State Pension?

Your state pension is a guaranteed income from the age you reach retirement for life, provided you have enough qualifying years of National Insurance contributions. In the current tax year (2023-2024), you can receive up to the amount of £10,600 per annum. This amount is increased annually by the higher of the Average Earnings Growth, Consumer Price Index (CPI), or 2.5%. 

What is the State Pension?

Do you qualify for the new State Pension?

To qualify for the new state pension, you need a minimum of 10 qualifying years.

Qualifying years are achieved through the payment of Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 National Insurance contributions (or through National Insurance credits if certain eligibility criteria are met).  

Are you automatically entitled to receive a State Pension?

If you are employed in the UK, your National Insurance contributions will be made automatically from your salary. However, if you have been self-employed, or lived outside of the UK for a period of time, this may have affected your entitlement to a full state pension, or if you were “contracted-out” for any period of time. 

If you started working before 2016, your eligibility to receive the full state pension could be affected by:

  • Membership of your employer’s contracted-out defined benefit (final salary) scheme prior to 2016 

  • Establishing a rebate-only personal pension to contract out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) or the Second State Pension (S2P) between 1988 and 2012 

  • Gaps in employment

If points one and two are applicable for you, your contributions were diverted to other pension schemes at the expense of a complete National Insurance record. Follow this link to check your National Insurance record

How can you check your state pension entitlement?

You can use the government’s state pension forecast service to get a statement of your current entitlement, and a projection of what your state pension will be, based on your qualifying years of NI contributions.

You can get your state pension Forecast online, or by post, using BR19 Form.

You should send your completed form to the follow address:


Newcastle Pension Centre, Futures Group 
The Pension Service 9 
Mail Handling Site 1 
WV98 1LU

If you have gaps in your qualifying years of National Insurance contributions on your record, you can normally voluntary National Insurance contributions to top-up your qualifying years

These will be either Class 2 or Class 3 depending on your individual circumstances. 

For each year of voluntary contributions you pay, you will get 1/35th of the state pension, equivalent to an additional £5.82 per week (£302.85 per annum) in the 2022/2023 tax year.

You used to only be able to back-date your voluntary NI contributions for 6 years. However, as of now, HMRC has extended the scope of voluntary contributions, allowing you to top up back to 2006. This is due to be revised back to 6 years in July 2023.

Download form CF83 to register to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions from abroad.

Do you qualify for the new State Pension?
How much are voluntary National Insurance contributions?

How much are voluntary National Insurance contributions?

Depending on your individual circumstances, there are two classes of voluntary National Insurance contributions. As of 2023/24, the contributions are as follows (valid up to 5th April 2024): 

  • Class 2 at £3.45 a week

  • Class 3 at £17.45 a week

If you have been contracted out of the Additional State Pension at some point during your working life you will make Voluntary Class 3 contributions. If you are unsure, you may find it beneficial to speak with a UK pensions expert

Should you pay voluntary National Insurance contributions?

If you can afford to pay voluntary contributions it is normally beneficial for you to do so, especially if you have less than 10 qualifying years of contributions. Even at the Class 3 rate, you would pay a much lower amount in comparison with a salaried employee. Your state pension is will provide a government-back, inflation-adjusted lifetime income. 

Is the state pension taxable?

Depending on what other sources of income you will have when you retire, you could pay income tax on your state pension. This will depend on whether your total income is above your personal allowance, currently £12,570 (2023-2024). If your income is above your personal allowance your state pension will be taxed just like any other source of income. 

Is the state pension taxable?
Can you transfer a state pension abroad?

Can you transfer your state pension abroad?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer your UK state pension to any other pension scheme, whether it be abroad or otherwise. However, if you live in another country when you retire, you are still entitled to receive your UK State Pension and can request for it to be paid to your UK account or an overseas account of your choice. 

You need to inform HMRC of your decision to retire abroad so that you can pay the correct tax, you can still receive your state pension.


It's important to talk with an advisor to check if there is a tax treaty in place between the UK and the country you are residing in. If there is, you can request to get your UK pension paid gross and elect to pay tax in your country of residence. 

What is the next step?

Pensions are complex and you need to ensure that you are armed with the correct information, based on your personal circumstances and objectives, in order to make an informed choice when choosing, or transferring, any pension plan. It is recommended that you take professional financial advice to ensure that you have the correct plan to meet your needs and that you are on track to meet your retirement goals.

Connect with an expert through our network of UK-qualified Independent Financial Advisors. Through our introduction, you will be entitled to a free, no-obligation pension review. 

What is the next step?
bottom of page