Find out what National Insurance credits are, how they are used, and when they can be claimed by reading up on the subject.

What exactly are these credits for National Insurance?

You can keep your National Insurance record in good standing by accumulating National Insurance credits even if you aren’t currently making contributions to National Insurance.

They contribute to the accumulation of “qualified years,” which count toward your eligibility for other benefits in addition to the standard state pension.

Do I qualify for credits with the National Insurance Program?

In most cases, persons who are eligible for National Insurance credits are not contributing to their National Insurance account because they are not working for a company that pays them.

This may be due to the fact that they are taking time off to care for their children, that they are unable to find work, or that they are ill.

Credits toward your National Insurance premium can also be earned if you are serving on a jury or are enrolled in a recognised training programme.

There are two different classes of credits: Class 3 credits count toward your State Pension and bereavement payments, whereas Class 1 credits cover these benefits in addition to others (such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment Support Allowance).

While some credits will be added to your record without your intervention, some of them will require an application from you.

The following table provides examples of some of the most typical situations in which you may be eligible to get National Insurance credits; however, this list is not inclusive; thus, you should check the official government website for more information on National Insurance credits.

The information in the table is accurate as of April 2022.

Credits for childcare and national insurance are available.

Kid benefit recipients who are over the age of 16 and caring for a child who is under the age of 12 are immediately eligible for Class 3 national insurance credits.

If they are over the age of 16 but under the age of state pension eligibility and care for a child who is under the age of 12, grandparents and other family members who are over the age of 16 but under the age of state pension eligibility may also be eligible for Class 3 Specified Adult National Insurance credits.

These are not added to your account automatically and must be requested separately (using form CF411A).

Learn more about it here:

Explanation of the Child Benefit; learning what benefits are available to you as a parent

a benefit from the NI for caregivers

If you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, then your National Insurance record will be updated to reflect that you have automatically earned Class 1 credits.

Those who are receiving Income Support are qualified for Class 3 benefits immediately.

If you are not receiving Income Support but are caring for a sick or disabled person for at least 20 or more hours per week, you may be eligible for Class 3 credits. However, in order to receive these credits, you will need to submit an application.

Credits for unemployment and national insurance

People who are already receiving Universal Credit will, by default, be eligible for Class 3 National Insurance credits.

If you are actively looking for work, you should investigate whether or not you qualify for Class 1 credits. If you are already receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance, these will be added to your record without any further action being required.

If you are not receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance but are unemployed and searching for work, you will need to make a claim for Class 1 credits through your local Jobcentre. You can do this by providing proof that you are unemployed and looking for employment.

You might also be eligible for Class 1 credits if you take part in a shorter-than-a-year-long training programme that has been approved by the government.

If you are referred to HMRC by a JobCentre Plus, the credits will be applied to your account immediately; otherwise, you will be required to submit a written request to HMRC.

Learn more about it by reading this: what is the Universal Credit?

Credits for National Insurance due to illness or incapacity

If you are receiving any of the following benefits and are unable to work because of a sickness or disability, you are eligible to receive automatic credits for your National Insurance payments.

Allowance for Work and Social Security Contributions

Allowance or Supplement for Individuals Who Are Unemployed

If you are not currently getting these benefits but do fulfil the requirements for them, you are eligible to make a claim for the Class 1 credit through your neighbourhood Jobcentre. While you are there, you might as well make a claim for the benefits to which you are entitled as well.

You may be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay even if you do not earn a sufficient amount to meet the requirements for a qualifying year for National Insurance.

If this is the case, you should write to HMRC at the following address: PT Operations North East England, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN to see if you qualify for Class 1 credits.

Learn more about National Insurance and benefits, including how the amount you pay into NI affects the amount of entitlements you receive.

NI credits for the spouses of those serving in the armed forces

You may be able to maximise your state pension by taking advantage of the Military Spouses National Insurance Credits system, which was introduced by HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions in response to a change in the state pension rules that mandated a minimum of 35 years of contributions in order to receive the full amount.

To put it simply, the programme enables you to make a claim for national insurance credits for the time that you spent with your husband or civil partner serving in the armed forces overseas.

You will need to submit an application in order to receive these credits, and you can only make a claim for the time you spent living or working abroad beginning on or after April 6, 1975.

Credits for national service and jury duty

It’s possible that you could be qualified for Class 1 credits if you’ve served on a jury and you’re not self-employed at the same time.

However, in order to apply for them, you will need to submit a written request to HMRC. To do so, write to the following address: PT Operations North East England, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AN.