State Pension

How can I check my National Insurance contributions?

If you’re approaching the current state pension age, you might be wondering how much income you can expect from your pension, or which type you qualify for. There are two main types of state pensions: basic and new pensions. Which of these you qualify for will depend on when you were born.

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How can I check my National Insurance contributions?
  • You need ten qualifying years of paying National Insurance contributions to get the basic state pension.
  • You need 35 qualifying years of paying National Insurance contributions to get the full state pension.
  • NI is calculated at 12% of your weekly income between £242 to £967 and 2% above £967. (2023)
  • If you have over 35 years of NI contributions, your payments go towards other people’s pensions.

How can I check my National Insurance contributions: FAQs

  • How much do you have to contribute to National Insurance?

    If you’re an employee, you pay National Insurance when you earn more than £242 per week as of the 2023/24 tax year. The amount you pay depends on your earnings, 12% of your earnings per week between £242 and £967, and 2% of your pay per week above £967.

  • What are the National Insurance rates for 2023/24?

    The rate of National Insurance is set at 12% on all earnings between the lower threshold and the upper employee earning limit and 2% on earnings above the upper earnings limit. Read our guide for a more in-depth description.

  • How many years of NI contributions do I need for a full pension?

    You will need at least ten qualifying years (without gaps) on your National Insurance record to get any state pension. For the full new pension, you need 35 qualifying years, and in-between 10-35 qualifying years, you will get a proportion of the new state pension entitlement. Learn more here.

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There are a few different ways to check your National Insurance record, which can show you various things such as:

  • National Insurance credits.
  • Amount paid.
  • Current state pension age.
  • Any contributory benefits.
  • The types of National Insurance classes you have paid.

The basic state pension provides £156.20 per week for men born before April 6th 1951, and women born before April 6th 1953. The new state pension provides £203.85 to everyone born after those dates.

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How to check your National Insurance records

Knowing how many years of qualifying National Insurance contributions you have, whether through employee earnings or self-employment, is difficult to do from memory alone, so checking your records can be very beneficial. 

Here are the main ways you can check your National Insurance information:

Checking online

Generally, the easiest way to access your National Insurance record is by using the government website. 

You may need to provide your National Insurance number to sign up for a Government Gateway user ID. Once you have set up an account, you will be able to see a ‘check your National Insurance records’ service.

Request printed statement

If you’d like to receive a physical copy of your National Insurance statement, you can ask for it to be sent in the post using an online application or by phone.

Call the National Insurance Contributions Office 

You can contact the National Insurance Contributions Office on 0300 200 3500. 

How many years of NI contributions do I need for a full pension? 

How much pension you will receive depends on when you were born and how long you paid National Insurance. You need at least ten years which qualify for National Insurance to get any state pension and 35 years to get the full new state pension. If you have paid between 10 and 35 years, you will get a proportion of the new state pension. 

Certain benefits such as support or jobseeker's allowance may also impact your pension. 

What happens if I pay National Insurance for more than 35 years? 

If you have paid for over 35 years, you will get the full flat weekly rate pension. 

Any years of NI contributions beyond the 35-year mark will go towards other people’s pensions. However, there are certain circumstances, such as the transitional period between the old and new pension schemes, which meant paying extra helped people to boost their pension.

Even with no boosts, those extra contributions will help ensure more people can access the pension they earned once they retire.

Read our article on how your savings could affect your pension credits here.

How to pay National Insurance contributions

You will pay National Insurance contributions through your income tax if you are employed. You will be able to see your contributions record on your payslip provided by your employer. 

Directors of limited companies must pay Class 1 National Insurance through your PAYE system as you are your own employer.

National Insurance contributions are still a requirement if you are self-employed. You will have to pay Class 2 National Insurance through your self-assessment unless your income is below the low earnings threshold, and you should be careful to cover any gaps in your contributions. 

You may have gaps in your National Insurance credits, which could affect your pension. However, you can pay voluntary contributions to your National Insurance to fill these gaps. 

You cannot get a refund if you pay voluntary contributions, so you should ensure you would see benefits from making these additional state pension payments.

Empowering your retirement: navigating National Insurance

As the retirement milestone approaches, navigating the complexities of state pensions and National Insurance confidently is crucial. Understanding the options available can significantly impact your financial well-being in your golden years.

By taking control of your National Insurance payments, whether employed or self-employed, you pave the way for a more secure future.

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