Overview

You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension.

You need a National Insurance number before you can start paying National Insurance contributions.

This page is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Who pays National Insurance

You pay mandatory National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and are either:

  • an employee earning above £242 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of more than £11,908 a year

You do not pay National Insurance, but still qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension, if you’re either:

  • an employee earning between £123 and £242 a week
  • self-employed and your profits are between £6,725 and £11,908 a month

Your contributions are treated as having been paid to protect your National Insurance record.

You may be able to pay voluntary contributions to avoid gaps in your National Insurance contributions.

National Insurance classes

There are different types of National Insurance (known as ‘classes’).

The type you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn.

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
  • Class 4 National Insurance from 6 April (start of the tax year) after you reach State Pension age