The government has extended the deadline for filling gaps in National Insurance (NI) records to 5 April 2025.
Earlier this year it announced a delay to 31 July 2023, when a surge in calls put too much pressure on HMRC administration.
Tom Selby, AJ Bell head of retirement policy, comments: “Delaying the state pension top-up deadline will offer people valuable breathing room, but this is now the second time the deadline has been pushed back. While the original postponement until July this year offered a short extension, the deadline has now been put back until April 2025, a full two years after the original cut-off. Crucially, it also shifts the problem beyond the general election – potentially creating a ticking time bomb for the next government to deal with.
“The original extension was only ever going to be effective if DWP then staffed its helplines sufficiently to clear the existing backlog and deal with the extra claims that were inevitably going to result.
“Unfortunately, the phone lines are once again jammed, which suggests this hasn’t happened and people are unable to get through to enquire about topping up their NI record. Government should have known that a large volume of calls would be coming in and prepared accordingly.
“For those trying to get through to top-up their state pension today’s announcement at least gives them extra time, although that still doesn’t tell them when they’ll actually be able to get through on the helpline.”