Did you know that National Insurance credits can help top up your pension if you’ve accrued any gaps in your NI record, through ill health or unemployment for example? But just how much are national insurance credits worth and what is the significance of NI credits for pensions? Acumen explains everything you need to know about National Insurance credits.
What are National Insurance credits?
National Insurance credits are designed to address any gaps you might have in your National Insurance record. This will ensure you qualify for certain benefits, most notably the State Pension. If you’re not paying National Insurance, you may be able to get National Insurance credits. For example, you will likely be eligible for NI credits if you’re currently claiming benefits because of an illness or if you’re unemployed.
NI credits for pensions
The State Pension entitlement is based on the number of years you’ve paid National Insurance or have received National Insurance credits. Your first port of call is to check your eligibility at GOV.UK to find out if and how you can claim for NI credits. However, as a rule of thumb, you should be entitled to claim National Insurance credits if you fulfil any of the following qualifying criteria:
- Are, or have been, claiming benefits due to ill health or unemployment
- Are, or have been, on maternity, paternity or adoption pay
- Are, or have been, looking after a child under 12
- Are, or have been, on an approved training course
- Are married to or are a civil partner of a member of the armed forces and you went with your partner on an overseas posting
- Are, or have been, on jury service
- Have served a prison sentence for a conviction that was later quashed
It’s worth noting that just a single year of National Insurance contributions can easily amount to £5,000 or more in State Pension over the course of a typical retirement. Therefore, it’s crucial to claim any National Insurance credits you might be entitled to in order to maximise the State Pension income you’re entitled to. Claims for some credits can be backdated, which means it’s well worth checking to see if you qualify.
Support with National Insurance credits
If you think you may be eligible to claim for National Insurance credits, or are simply unsure and would like some further support and advice, there is a helpline you can call 0300 200 3500 which is open Monday – Friday 8am to 6pm although it is closed at weekends and on Bank Holidays. There is also a link you can use – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-insurance-enquiries-for-employees-and-individuals
Our experienced team of financial planners will be only too happy to offer you tailored advice and guidance based on the best course of action for your financial situation. We can ensure you get the best from your retirement.
Acumen has a 21-strong team, including 10 financial advisers, with more than 150 years of collective experience to their name. We offer impartial financial planning advice to individuals and companies right across the North West and further afield. Our highly qualified and experienced multi-disciplinary team works together to provide a thoroughly tailored and joined up approach to financial planning.
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