If you don't have enough National Insurance contributions or credits for a particular tax year, and you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you may get a letter telling you that the year won't count towards your basic State Pension and bereavement benefits. The letter explains how voluntary contributions can make the year count, and what to do if you think the gap information is wrong.
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There might be a gap in your contributions record for various reasons, for example you may have been:
Gap letters are normally sent out between September and January. They tell you about:
For example, if you receive a letter between September 2013 and January 2014 (tax year 2013-14) it will be telling you about any gaps in the 2011-12 tax year and how many qualifying years you have up to the 2010-11 tax year.
A qualifying year is a tax year where you have paid, or you're treated as having paid or you've been credited with, enough National Insurance contributions to count towards your basic State Pension and certain bereavement benefits.
You should check the information in your letter and then either:
Your letter isn't a bill or a demand for payment. So it's your decision whether or not to pay voluntary contributions to make the year count towards your State benefits. But if you decide not to make up the gap, the year won't count towards your State benefits, even if you have paid some contributions for the year.
You can get more information to help you decide if you'd benefit from paying voluntary contributions by following the link below. You'll also find tables to help you work out the effect on your State Pension of paying or not paying voluntary contributions.
If you think the information in your letter is wrong you should either:
If you live abroad you should either:
If you reach State Pension age after 6 April 2016, and have gaps in your National Insurance record, HMRC won’t send you a gap letter. This is because the Government is proposing to simplify the State Pension. The proposals - if accepted will bring in different rules to work out your State Pension and will affect men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953. If you previously received a gap letter, until the rules change it will be more difficult for you to decide whether paying gaps in your record will improve your future State Pension. Before deciding to pay gaps in your record find out more about the proposals to change State Pensions by following the link below.