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.
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:
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
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.
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.