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[16.01.2019]

Applying for national insurance credits: don’t miss out

Thousands of people could be missing out on a boost to their state pension, simply because they don’t realise they’re eligible to receive it.

This is because of the complex system of national insurance credits, which can help fill gaps on your national insurance record and ensure you qualify for benefits including the state pension.

You might need to do this if you haven’t paid national insurance for a period of time, for example because you’ve been ill or unemployed, or looking after children.

But how do you know what you’re eligible for, and what do you need to do next?

Check your record for gaps

The first thing you need to know is whether you have any gaps in your national insurance record that you’ll need to fill in.

You can see your national insurance record here.

Find out what you’re eligible for

You may be able to claim national insurance credits for various reasons, including if you’ve been:

  • ill
  • unemployed
  • caring for a child
  • on carer’s allowance
  • on jury service
  • on a government-approved training course.

On the other hand, you usually can’t get national insurance credits if you’re self-employed and need to pay class 2 national insurance.

For a full list of reasons you might be eligible, visit the Government’s website.

In some cases, people who are eligible to receive credits are unaware they could claim them.

For example, only 9,486 applications were made in 2017 for the adult-specified childcare credit – which is available to people who look after their relatives’ children – but around 90,000 more could have been eligible for it.

Parents who don’t claim child benefit in 2019 may also be missing out on the national insurance credits that are automatically given to those who do claim it.

Confusingly, this means it’s often worth claiming child benefit even if you’re not able to receive any payments from it.

What to do if you are eligible for credits

In some cases you’ll receive national insurance credits automatically, but in others you’ll usually need to apply by post to HMRC – or we can take care of this for you.

Depending on your situation, you might be able to claim one of two types of credit:

Class 1 credits count towards your state pension and can sometimes help you qualify for other benefits, such as contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance.

Class 3 credits only count towards your state pension.

Get in touch

To talk about applying for credits, or any other aspect of national insurance, contact us at 020 8643 1166.

We can also help with efficient tax planning and self-assessment returns. Find out more about our personal tax service.

Dick Haffenden