You can check your NIC record for your entire working life in your online personal tax account. This will also provide an estimate of the state retirement pension you should receive.
A deficiency in the NIC record can also mean that you are denied other contribution-related state benefits such as employment and support allowance, the bereavement support payment, or maternity allowance (for self-employed individuals).
Any unexpected gaps in the taxpayer’s NIC record should be challenged with HMRC, as it has been known to lose class 1 NIC records as well as the class 2 records for self-employed taxpayers.
If you cannot access your personal tax account there are other ways to check your NIC record, including by post.
From January 2013 parents with income of over £60,000 were encouraged not to claim child benefit, as that money would be completely clawed back through the high-income child benefit charge (HICBC). The higher earner of the couple would also be required to register for self-assessment and complete a tax return solely to report the HICBC.
This reduces the state pension entitlement for the parent who chose to stay out of the workforce.
The care-giver gets NI credits for years spent caring for a child or children aged under 12. However, those NI credits are only given if the care-giver also claims child benefit.
Declining to claim child benefit means the NI credits are not given and the child may not be allocated a national insurance number when they reach age 16.
The cumbersome solution is to make a child benefit claim and opt to stop receiving the payment of the benefit, while the higher earner of the couple has annual income over £60,000.
On 27 April 2023 the government announced that those parents who have not claimed child benefit, and as a result have a reduced entitlement to the state pension, will be able to receive NI credits retrospectively. It promised to set out further steps of how this NI credit will be given, but that information has not been forthcoming.