National Insurance contributions and credits
National Insurance is the system of collecting contributions from people in work to help pay for benefits when they’re out of work or retired.
About National Insurance
Most people who are employed or self-employed have to pay National Insurance contributions. Many people who aren’t working and on benefits can get National Insurance credits. Both contributions and credits can help you qualify for a State Pension and other benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions.
Benefits that depend on National Insurance contributions
Benefits that don’t depend on National Insurance contributions
There are some benefits that aren't based on NI contributions. The most important of these benefits for people who are ill or disabled are:
National Insurance credits
You may be entitled to National Insurance credits which fill in any gaps in your contribution record. This means you can still get benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. The main times when you can get National Insurance credits are if:
- you have been unemployed or off work due to health reasons, for example while you’re getting Employment and Support Allowance
- you're getting Carer’s Allowance
- you'e caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week
- you're providing regular and substantial care and are on Income Support
- you're getting Child Benefit for a child under 12.
GOV.uk – National Insurance
Print this page