Have you previously worked at least 3 consecutive years in the UK and paid National Insurance? If so, you might be entitled to a UK state pension if you make voluntary contributions.

To get a proportion of the UK pension, you need at least 10 years of National Insurance payments and up to 35 years to qualify for the full pension. Your weekly payment will be proportional to your total contributions at retirement.

How much are voluntary contributions?

There is two main Class of insurance. Class 3 covers most people and costs £824 per year for each additional year of state pension you purchase. Class 2 costs £163.80, and to pay the lower contribution, you have to meet additional criteria, such as paying contributions in another country. Most parents would pay PRSI in Ireland, which meets this criteria.

Is it worth voluntarily contributing?

Having access to a state pension is a fantastic benefit. Parents can potentially end up with a UK state pension, their Irish state pension and their private arrangements.

You may think that paying voluntary contributions is expensive, but if you put the same money into a private pension, you will get nowhere near the same returns. I am talking about a fraction of the pension the UK state pension guarantees you.

How do I find out if I am entitled?

Contact the UK State Pension forecasting team at 00 44 191 2183 600 or https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension to start the process. Have your National Insurance number on hand. If you can’t find this, then they can put you through to another department that may be able to help.

The deadline was originally April 5th 2023, but that was subsequently extended. Pensions are often put on the long finger, but I encourage all my parents to take action.