Paying National Insurance contributions builds up your entitlement to certain state benefits. Different types of contribution count towards different types of benefit - however, some benefits aren't linked to National Insurance contributions at all. The lists below will help you check which benefits depend on your contributions and which don't.
On this page:
State benefits that are linked to your National Insurance contributions are known as 'contributory benefits'.
National Insurance contributions count towards the following state benefits:
You can find out more about each of the above benefits on the GOV.UK website, including how to claim.
Whether or not you can claim contributory benefits - and the amount you will get - depends partly on the:
|Benefit||Class 1 - paid by employees||Class 2 - paid by self-employed people||Class 3 - paid by people who want to top up their contributions|
|Basic State Pension||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Additional State Pension||Yes||No||No|
|Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance||Yes||No (except for share fishermen and volunteer development workers employed abroad)||No|
|Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance||Yes||Yes||No|
Class 4 National Insurance contributions - paid by some self-employed people - don't count towards any state benefits.
Class 1A and Class 1B contributions - paid by employers only - don't count towards any state benefits.
Tom ran his own building business and paid Class 2 (and Class 4) National Insurance contributions. During his lifetime he paid enough in National Insurance contributions to get the full basic State Pension when he retired. But because he was self-employed he didn't pay any Class 1 contributions. So he couldn't claim the additional State Pension. Instead, Tom paid into a personal pension plan.
Marta worked as an accountant but gave up working for several years. She had paid Class 1 contributions when she was working, and wanted to make sure she would have paid enough for a full basic State Pension when she retired. So she chose to pay Class 3 contributions while she wasn't working to protect her pension entitlement. Follow the first link below to find out how many qualifying years you need to get a full basic State Pension.
Bleddyn was employed as a groundsman all his working life. He paid enough Class 1 contributions during this time to get a full basic State Pension plus the additional State Pension when he retired.
Some state benefits aren't linked to your National Insurance contributions. These are known as 'non-contributory benefits'. You can be eligible for these benefits whether or not you've paid (or been credited with) any National Insurance contributions.
Some of the state benefits you can get even if you haven't paid any National Insurance contributions include:
You can find out more about these and other non-contributory benefits on the GOV.UK website including how to claim by following the link below.
You can sometimes get National Insurance credits paid for you towards your contributions record. National Insurance Credits can help protect your entitlement to the basic State Pension and certain other benefits.
For example, you may be able to get National Insurance credits to cover periods when you can't work - perhaps because you're sick - or when you're unemployed.
You can find out more in our guide on National Insurance credits.
When you apply for a contributory benefit you may not get it if you don't seem to have paid enough National Insurance contributions.
If this happens you can ask your Jobcentre Plus office (Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office in Northern Ireland) to look again at the decision.
It's often helpful to check your National Insurance 'statement of account'. This will show you how much you've:
Find out how to get a statement of account by following the first link below.