The UK Rules
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Credits

National Insurance Credits Rules

What are National Insurance Credits? There may be times when you cannot make the regular NI Contributions. NI credits help build up 'qualifying years' and maintain your National Insurance record.

NI CREDITS: NI credits also count towards your claim for certain benefits and State Pension entitlement.

This guide explains who can get National Insurance credits.

Further information shows you how to apply for your NI credit if you are unable to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions.

What happens if you are temporarily unemployed claiming benefits, too ill to work, or caring for someone else? It may be difficult to pay NIC.

Government National Insurance credits help to fill gaps in your NI record.

Note: Click here if you need to check your National Insurance record for payment gaps.

How Do I Get National Insurance Credits?

As a rule the UK Government gives you National Insurance credits as an automatic process. But in some cases you may have to apply for the NI credit. You must wait until your current tax year finishes before you apply for credits for that particular tax year. The UK tax year runs from the 6th of April to the following 5th of April.

Those who are eligible will get one of these two types of National Insurance credits:

  1. Class 1: NI Credit counts towards several benefits including bereavement benefits, JSA, and your State Pension.
  2. Class 3: NI Credit counts only towards the State Pension.

How Do I Check My National Insurance Credits?

You should check your National Insurance record to determine if you have got credits. Contact the office where you applied if they are showing incorrectly on your record. You can telephone the general enquiries helpline if you need further advice.

National Insurance Credits Eligibility

The National Insurance credits tables show whether you could be eligible. People who are already getting Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, or the Carer's Allowance would usually qualify.

Get NI Credits While Looking for Work

Your Current Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are benefiting from JSA but not working 16 hours or more a week or in education You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You are unemployed and looking for work but not getting Jobseeker's Allowance Contact your Jobcentre to get Class 1 credits

Get NI Credits While Disabled, Ill or on Sick Pay

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You get Unemployability Supplement or Allowance Employment, or Support Allowance You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You are not benefiting from ESA but you meet the conditions for it Contact your Jobcentre to get Class 1 credits
You get Statutory Sick Pay but do not earn enough to make a qualifying year Apply for Class 1 credits by writing to National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

Get NI Credits While on Paternity, Maternity, or Adoption Pay

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are benefiting from Maternity Allowance You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You get Paternity or Adoption Pay, Statutory Maternity, or Additional Statutory Paternity Pay, but do not earn enough to make a qualifying year Apply for Class 1 credits by writing to National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

Get National Insurance Credits for Parents or Foster Carers

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are a parent and registered for Child Benefit for a child under 12 (even if you do not get it) You qualify for automatic Class 3 credits
You are a parent with Child Benefit for a child under 16 between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010 but you did not get automatic HRP Claim Home Responsibilities Protection to get Class 3 credits
You want to transfer National Insurance credits from a spouse or partner who got Child Benefit for a child under 12 (between 6 April 2010 and now) Apply to transfer Class 3 credits between parents
You want to transfer National Insurance credits from a spouse or partner who got Child Benefit for a child under 16 (before 6 April 2010) Apply to transfer HRP between parents to get Class 3 credits
You were a foster carer, or a kinship carer in Scotland (between 6 April 2003 and 5 April 2010) Claim HRP to get Class 3 credits
You are a foster carer, or a kinship carer in Scotland (between 6 April 2010 and now) Apply for Class 3 credits

Get NI Credits for Carers

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are benefiting from Carer's Allowance You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You are benefiting from Income Support and providing regular and substantial care You qualify for automatic Class 3 credits
You are caring for one or more sick or disabled persons for at least 20 hours a week Apply for Class 3 carer's credits if you do not get Carer’s Allowance or Income Support

Get NI Credits for Family Members Caring for a Child

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are a family member over 16 but under State Pension age and you are caring for a child under 12 (usually while the parent or main carer is working) Apply for Specified Adult Childcare Class 3 credits

Get NI Credits on Working Tax Credit

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You get Working Tax Credit with a disability premium (you have a small earnings exception if self-employed) You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You get Working Tax Credit without a disability premium (you have a small earnings exception if self-employed) You qualify for automatic Class 3 credits

Get NI Credits on Universal Credit

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are benefiting from Universal Credit You qualify for automatic Class 3 credits

Get NI Credits for Men Approaching 65

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are between the current women's State Pension age and 65, you live in the UK at least 183 days a year and one of these apply: you do not work, you do not earn enough to make a qualifying year, or you are self-employed with a small earnings exception You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits

Get NI Credits on a Training Course

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are over 18 and Jobcentre Plus sent you on a government-approved training course that lasts no longer than 1 year You qualify for automatic Class 1 credits
You are over 18 and on a government-approved training course that lasts no longer than 1 year but you were not sent by Jobcentre Plus Apply for Class 1 credits. Write to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

Get NI Credits for People on Jury Service

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You have attended court and you are not self-employed Apply for Class 1 credits. Write to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

Get NI Credits for Partners of People in Armed Forces

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
You are married to or a civil partner of a member of the armed forces, went with your partner on an overseas posting after 6 April 2010, and are returning to the UK Apply for Class 1 credits
You are married to or a civil partner of a member of the armed forces, went with your partner on an overseas posting after 6 April 1975, reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, and do not get Class 1 credits Apply for Class 3 credits

Get NI Credits for People Wrongly Imprisoned

Your Circumstances How to Get National Insurance Credits
Your conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal (or the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland) Apply for Class 1 credits. Write to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN

Who Does Not Qualify for National Insurance Credits?

As a rule you cannot get NI credits if:

National Insurance Credits Help to Protect Your UK State Pension