Today’s Govt announcement of “New online state pension top-up service welcome – but must not create ‘new bottleneck’” – Steve Webb, LCP

by | Apr 29, 2024

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The Government has today announced that a long-awaited service to allow people to top up their National Insurance record online has gone live.   At present, people wanting to top up their NI contributions to improve their state pension have had to go through a painful two stage phone-based process, often with long periods held in a phone queue waiting to be connected. 

First they needed to contact the ‘Future Pension Centre’ at DWP to discuss which years they could top up, how much it would cost and what impact it would have on their pension.  Then they needed to phone HMRC to get an 18 digit reference number for the payment to be made.  And when all this was completed they then had to wait for DWP to act on the updated NI record and revise their state pension or state pension forecast.

The new service will enable people to top up their pension via the website without needing to speak to anyone on the phone.


LCP partner Steve Webb, who has long campaigned for a more streamlined process, has welcomed the news but warned of the risk that a rush of applications could create a new logjam in the system.  He said:

“It is very good news if people will be able to top up their National Insurance record online.   Until now people have had to battle through on two different phone lines – one to check with DWP which years they can top up and then one to HMRC to get a reference number to make a payment.  It must be a step in the right direction to be able to do all of this without hanging on a telephone.   However, simply getting your NI record updated by HMRC is only half of the story.  It then needs DWP to reassess your state pension entitlement based on your improved contribution record.   There are already too many cases where people wait months or longer to get their pension figure revised.  It is vital that the government puts in place new capacity at DWP to process all of these changes, otherwise they will simply have created a new bottleneck in the system”.

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