National Insurance credits – NI credits could increase your state pension

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If you’re bringing up your child, not working and not getting benefits or caring for a family member, you may be entitled to National Insurance credits. Find out how claiming NI credits could increase your state pension.

National insurance credits – what you may be entitled to

With some National Insurance credits you have to apply for them online. Others you have to apply for via the jobcentre, or in writing.

SAVVY TIP: You may only be able to backdate claims for National Insurance credits to the previous tax year, but some credits may be able to be backdated for longer.

Carer’s credits

Almost 240,000 carers are missing out on National Insurance credits for their pension. If you care for someone for 20 hours a week or more, you should claim carer’s credits. Read more about How to claim carer’s credits in my guide.

If you’re unemployed

If you’re unemployed but don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can claim Class 1 National Insurance credits.

SAVVY TIP: Class 1 NI is the National Insurance you normally pay if you’re employed.

How to apply: Contact your local jobcentre.

If you’re unable to work due to illness

If you don’t get paid Employment and Support Allowance but you meet the conditions to qualify for it, you can get Class 1 National Insurance Credits. You have to contact your jobcentre to get the credits

If you’re on Statutory Sick Pay, National Insurance would normally be deducted. But if you’re not being paid enough to make a qualifying year, you can apply for Class 1 National Insurance credits – but you have to do this in writing.

How to apply: To apply for Class 1 credits, write to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN. Include your National Insurance number and say when the credits are for and why you’re eligible.

If you’re having a baby, adopting or fostering

If you’re on Maternity Allowance you will get Class 1 National Insurance credits automatically. Maternity Allowance is the benefit you get if you’re self employed or on a low wage, and taking maternity leave.

If you’re on Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay or Adoption Pay, National Insurance would normally be deducted. But if you don’t earn enough for a qualifying year, you can apply for Class 1 National Insurance.

How to apply: You have to do this in writing to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN. Include your National Insurance number and say when the credits are for and why you’re eligible.

Parents and foster carers

If you’re a parent and you’ve registered to receive Child Benefit and your child is under the age of 12, you will get Class 3 credits towards your state pension. But you must have registered for child benefit even if you’ve chosen not to receive it because you earn more than £50,000. Read more in my guide to Your state pension when you’re bringing up children

SAVVY TIP: You can transfer National Insurance credits to your husband, wife or partner if you’re getting child benefit. You have to fill in a transfer form. You can download this from the Gov.uk website.

If you’re a foster carer you can apply for Class 3 NI credits.

How to apply: You can apply for foster carer’s credits online or by post. You can find more information about foster carer’s credits on the Gov.uk website.

Grandparents’ credit

There’s one National Insurance credit with a rather clumsy name of the ‘specified adult childcare credit’. If you have a baby and you go back to work but a grandparent (or other family member) looks after your baby, you can sign a form so they receive National Insurance credits. The grandparent can only get these credits while they’re under state pension age.

How to apply: You can apply online or by post. There’s more information on how to apply for this credit Gov.uk website.

If you’re on a training course

If you’re on a training course that lasts up to a year but you weren’t sent by your jobcentre you can apply for National Insurance credits. The course has to be a government approved one.

How to apply: You have to do this in writing to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN. Include your National Insurance number and say when the credits are for and why you’re eligible

On jury service

If you’ve done jury service but you’re not self employed, you can get Class 1 National Insurance credits.

How to apply: You have to do this in writing to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN. Include your National Insurance number and say when the credits are for and why you’re eligible

Wrongly imprisoned

If you were imprisoned and your conviction has been quashed by the Court of Appeal (Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland), you can apply for Class 1 National Insurance credits.

How to apply: You have to do this in writing to: National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN. Include your National Insurance number and say when the credits are for and why you’re eligible.

If your spouse or civil partner is in the armed forces

If you’re married to or a civil partner of a member of the armed forces and you went with your partner on an overseas posting and are returning to the UK, you can apply for NI credits. The class of credit you apply for depends on when your husband, wife or civil partner was posted and when you reach state pension age.

How to apply: You can download a form online. There are different forms depending on when your husband or civil partner’s posting relates to. You can download the form for periods after April 2010 There’s another form if your posting was after 1975 and you reach state pension age after April 2016.

Related articles:

How to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions

VIDEO: Why registering for child benefit will help build up your state pension

Deferring your state pension; how much extra will you get?

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