Many UK expats stop making National Insurance Contributions as soon as they leave the white cliffs behind them. However, did you know that you can continue to make voluntary contributions while you are overseas?
The benefit of doing so is that it allows you to protect your UK state pension entitlement.
Currently, the maximum state pension is GBP164.35 per week (GBP8,546.20 per annum). While you wouldn’t want to be relying on this as your only source of income in retirement, it can be an important part of any overall retirement plan. Especially as it potentially increases with inflation in payment.
Your first step should be to find out your current state pension entitlement. You can do this by obtaining a pension statement here. Alternatively, you can call +44 345 300 01 68 and request a statement be sent to you by post (be sure to have your National Insurance number handy).
Once you know where you stand, you can apply to make voluntary contributions (Class 2 if you are employed and Class 3 if you are not) using form NI38.
Weekly Class 2 contributions for tax year 2018/19 are GBP2.95. Class 3 are GBP14.65.
You will need 35 years of qualifying contributions to receive the maximum state pension and at least 10 years worth to receive any form of state pension.
Finally, you can also go back and make up gaps in your National Insurance record in order to increase your pension entitlement.