You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension.
You pay National Insurance if you’re:
- 16 or over
- an employee earning above £153 a week
- self employed and making a profit over £5,885 a year (unless you get an exception)
The exact amount you pay depends on:
- how much you earn
- whether you’re employed or self-employed
You may also want to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps in your National Insurance record. For example, you can have a gap when you weren’t working and didn’t get any state benefits.
When you stop paying
If you’re employed, you stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.
If you’re self-employed you stop paying:
- Class 2 National Insurance when you reach State Pension age (or up to 4 months after this to pay off any contributions you owe)
- Class 4 National Insurance from the start of the tax year after the one in which you reach State Pension age