MARTIN Lewis has issued an urgent warning to thousands who risk missing out on up to £30,000 to boost their income.
It comes after someone wrote into This Morning to ask the MoneySavingExpert about buying back National Insurance (NI) years.
The Martin Lewis fan said: "I've tried ringing the Future Pensions Service various times every day for weeks and I get to the option that I want only for it to sound engaged and then cut off.
"When I tried today I was told to hang up as they were taking industrial action.
"I've informed my MP but is there any other advice you can give me?"
The Future Pensions Service is there for households to ask questions about their state pension as well as ask for a forecast.
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The advice given can then be used to assess if you need to buy back more years to ensure that you can claim a full state pension.
Callers are finding it increasingly difficult to get through but Martin Lewis warned it's still worth the wait as some people could "boost their pension pot by £10, £20, £30,000 pounds in total."
He said: "There's a big issue at the moment – anybody aged 45-70 is able to buy back National Insurance years to 2006 – this was meant to stop on April 5.
"But because I've done programmes urging people to check this – the deadline's been extended until the end of July.
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"This is because the Future Pensions Service which you have to call has been so busy that nobody can get through so they've had to extend the deadline for buying back these National Insurance years."
But, Martin issued another warning about who should be making the call right now.
He said that only those with gaps in their National Insurance record or those who want to buy back years before 2017 should be calling the Future Pensions Service right now.
This is because households have until July 31 to backdate any missing payments in the last 17 years.
After this date, households will only be able to backdate payments by up to six years.
So if you're only buying back until 2027, you have until March 2024 to put do it.
You need 35 years' worth of NI contributions (NICs) to get the full pension amount which is currently £203.85 per week.
But you might have gaps in your NICs if you were not earning enough, or were unemployed and not claiming benefits.
Anyone wanting to check to see if they're eligible to buy back years can do so on Gov.UK.
It's also important to check if you can claim free NICs credit, for example, when you temporarily stopped working to look after children.
Here's everything you need to know about topping up your state pension below.
How can I top up my new state pension?
How much you can get for the new state pension depends on your National Insurance contributions.
You can get the full amount if you have made 35 years' worth and have to have made 10 years to get at least something.
But you can top up any missing gaps in your NI record through voluntary contributions.
Steve Webb, LCP partner and former pensions minister, previously told The Sun topping up contributions can get people a better "rate of return" than other ways of saving.
But you have to pay if you want to plug any gaps.
Earning back your missing NI years costs £15.85 a week so it will work out as £824.20 to buy one year of contributions.
Steve said as an extreme case, someone who misses the April 5 deadline to fill their gaps would lose the chance to top up another 10 years of NI contributions.
This would be the period between 2006/07 to 2015/16.
Although you'd have to pay £8,242 (10 lots of £824.20), the annual state pension boost would be around £2,750.
So someone who was retired for 20 years would get back around £55,000 in total, before tax.
How you can claim voluntary contributions depends on which type you are going for.
For example, if you want to buy Class 2 National Insurance contributions you can pay for them as part of your Self Assessment tax bill.
Or you can pay for them online on Gov.UK.
But you'll need your online banking details and the 18-digit reference number shown on your HMRC payment request ready.
You'll need your Class 2 National Insurance reference number to hand as well.
If you want to buy Class 3 contributions you can pay on Gov.UK as well.
You'll need your Class 3 National Insurance reference number to hand though.
It's also worth bearing in mind that voluntary contributions won't always increase your state pension.
If you have the budget, you can pay a financial advisor to see whether it's worth you buying them back.
Who can claim National Insurance credits?
It is important to check if the gaps in your contributions can be plugged with free NICs credits.
Thousands are thought to be missing out on these NI Credits, leaving them worse off in retirement.
For example, those on certain benefits should qualify for Class 1 credits.
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You can check the full list of who's eligible for claiming credits on the government website.
It explains the circumstances where you'll need to claim and when you'll get it automatically.
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