Martin Lewis's Advice on Topping Up Pensions

This won’t be relevant to those who are already retired. A friend in the UK saw Martin Lewis recommend that people who have gaps in their pension contributions can, until next month, make additional top ups going back as far as 2006. Normally you can only top up for the previous 6 years, so he’s urging people to check if they’re able to benefit from this.

Here’s the clip from his TV show discussing why and how… Martin Lewis: Urgent. Less than six weeks for millions to boost state pension by £10,000s - YouTube

I’ve checked and, although I contributed between 2006 and 2017 so this deadline doesn’t affect me, I am missing 11 years if I want to receive the full UK state pension in 20 years’ time. By my rough calculations that’s an outlay of just under £9k to receive an additional £3k p/year.


There are other changes likely coming in the spring budget statement too such as the loss of the ability to draw 25% tax free cash…
As a matter of interest as you will no doubt be continuing to work in France in the intervening period towards retirement, how will matters be impacted when France becomes your competent pension provider?

To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s one of those things I need to look into but it never seems a priority so I just ignore it :see_no_evil:

My understanding is that it is almost certainly worth it if you have gaps.

Currently I’m “fully paid up” though.

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I had large gaps due to working all over the world and was ‘let-off’ a whole lot of SS payments due to poverty back in the 80s but still ended up with a liveable pension combined with my company one and the 2 French ones I got after working here.

We don’t exactly live a wild and expensive lifestyle but we don’t have to scrimp either and I have not transferred any money from UK since January last year. We are not living on my French pensions, the capital here is very slowly dwindling, but I will be asking for advice soon as Worldwide, my faithful transferer for many years, is hitting Brexit problems of its own.

The boost pension deadline has been extended to 31st July - see MSE update


My point to @Gareth was mainly concerned with the impact of France becoming the competent authority when he does retire. I’m clear in my mind about the benefits when the pensioner buys further years (and in Gareth’s case seems the payback period will be handleable) but what I’m not clear about is how that translates when in other circumstances, the pension is effectively handed over to France - will he see the benefits?
In your case, since you will retire AIUI to France when you finish working, your competent authority will presumably remain the UK so that is clearer and by all accounts will benefit.

Gareth, I’m probably a similar age. When I moved to France I stopped my contributions, but about 3 years ago I called up the UK pension services, explained my situation and self-employment status having worked since arriving here, and they allowed me to pay 10 years worth of back payments. For the amount it cost it was totally worth it, especially as any French pension I might be entitled to is going to be peanuts based on meager earnings.
I set up NI contributions through direct debit and so will easily be able to make all my contributions by retirement age, although unfortunately by the time I get to claim anything, retirement age will be 68!

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Thanks, Gareth (great name, btw!). That’s good to know. Perhaps I should give the UK pension service a call too. Making a voluntary payment of £800 p/year for eleven years is manageable if it means I get the full state pension when I eventually retire.

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Should do. It is quite complex but one’s contributions should be accredited. Apparently does take quite a while tho”.

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Hi Gareth,
Here’s a number for NI voluntary contributions - +44 191 203 7010

In recent years while being self-employed in France, I have also paid voluntary Class 2 contributions e.g. a full year has cost me less than £160

Well worth it!


was it ever thus…
I didn’t know but it was flagged up in my mind as I had no experience or knowledge of how this works but thought it best for @Gareth to check it out before committing to it just to be certain.

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Thanks all :slightly_smiling_face:

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It’s certainly the case that you can get pensions from wherever you’ve been accumulating them. I have a number of friends who worked in the UK for many years then worked in France for a considerable number as well. Although France is the competent authority for them as far as health is concerned, the pensions seem to be completely independent and rely on the number of years of contributions in each country.

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does that mean they get the UK State pension (as indeed others unaffected by this do) and a separate pension payment for the contributions made in France?
I thought that the UK State and any French “old age” pension were commuted to one single payment when France becomes the competent authority :thinking:

They seem to be getting two payments but of course that may not be normal - I wouldn’t know!

I’m sure somewhere along the line in another topic, I remember @JaneJones mentioning about the two being commuted in to one payment authority.
She’ll know for sure.

Nope, we get our UK state and company pensions, and also my French state and sector pensions as well.

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I’ve been receiving a small French pension for nearly 3 years now through Carsat although the years from UK Nation were added to those I worked in France

To be continued shortly!