1. Overview

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

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