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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Credits: pre -1975 credits: 1948 opening credits

Before the National Insurance scheme started in July 1948, people in insurable employment paid contributions to Approved Societies, which were often private insurance companies or friendly societies, or to certain funds run by the Ministry of Health.

Not all employment was insurable. This depended on factors such as:

  • the type of work, or
  • the person’s salary, or
  • if there was an adequate occupational insurance scheme, such as the Civil Service scheme.

Employees on high earnings and the self-employed could only be insured on a voluntary basis.

The insurance was not continuous and lapsed if there was a significant break in employment. There was a linking period, known as a “free insurance period”, which protected a person’s insurance from lapsing for up to two years after the insurable employment ceased. If insurable employment lapsed it could not count for benefit at a later date.

In 1948 anyone who had existing insurance had accrued rights carried forward into the NI scheme. Each person was credited with contributions from their last “date of entry” into insurance to 4 July 1948. These opening credits are recorded on a person’s permanent record, form RF1A.

In 1975, for anyone reaching pension age on or after 6 April 1975, full credits were awarded from 6 April immediately before the date of entry up to 4 July 1948. These are included on the person’s NIRS account when a pension calculation is carried out.

Disputes can arise over whether or not there was linking pre-48 insurable employment and the last date of entry into pre-48 insurance. Disputes and enquiries on pre-1948 insurance matters are dealt with by HMRC NIC&EO Directors Complaints and Appeals Team (DCAT)