What National Insurance do I pay after retirement?

Updated on 12 November 2017

You pay National Insurance contributions (NIC) to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the state pension. In this section, we look at what happens to your NIC payments once you reach state pension age.

You pay NIC on ‘earned income’, that is, income from an employment or from self-employment, provided you earn more than a certain level. If you want general information about NIC and how it works, go to the ‘tax basics section’ of this website.

If you want information on how to get a National Insurance number (NINO) or what to do if you have lost or forgotten your NINO, visit our National Insurance number page.

Who pays NIC?

You pay National Insurance contributions (NIC) between the ages of 16 and state pension age on your earnings (including employment income and profits from self-employment), but not on your pension income.

You can use the state pension age calculator on the GOV.UK website to work out when you will reach your state pension age.

We set out the rules in the rest of this section for when you can stop paying each type of NIC. If you stop working when you reach state pension age, you will not have any earned income, and you will not have to pay NIC.

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What Class 1 NIC do I pay after state pension age?

If you are an employee you normally pay Class 1 NIC.

As soon as you reach state pension age, you stop paying Class 1 NIC if you carry on working as an employee. You only have to pay them on any earnings that were due to be paid to you before you reached state pension age.

If you stay in employment after state pension age, you can show your employer proof of your age (birth certificate or passport) so that they stop taking NIC from your wages. If you would rather not show those documents to your employer, you can apply to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for an age exception certificate using the National Insurance enquiries helpline, so that you do not pay NIC. You can find details of the helpline on the GOV.UK website.

Make sure you provide your name, address, contact number and your National Insurance number (NINO). Once you receive your age exception certificate from HMRC, give it to your employer. This will allow them to stop deducting NIC from your earnings.

Note – your employer still has to pay Class 1 employer NIC and this amount may appear on your payslip.

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What Class 2 NIC do I pay after state pension age?

If you are self-employed you normally pay Class 2 NIC.

As soon as you reach state pension age, you stop paying Class 2 NIC if you carry on working. You only have to pay them on any earnings that were due to be paid to you before you reached state pension age.

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What Class 3 NIC do I pay after state pension age?

Class 3 NIC are voluntary NIC.

There are some circumstances in which you cannot pay Class 3 NIC. These include:

  • You cannot pay Class 3 NIC if you reach state pension age in the tax year for which you want to pay the contributions;
  • You cannot pay Class 3 NIC if you are older than your state pension age.

Up until 5 April 2017, there was an option for men born before 6 April 1951 and women born before 6 April 1953 to top up their state pension by paying Class 3A NIC. See GOV.UK’s calculator if you think this might apply to you.

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What Class 4 NIC do I pay after state pension age?

If you are self-employed you might pay Class 4 NIC. Whether or not you have to pay Class 4 NIC depends on your level of self-employment profits.

Class 4 NIC are an annual charge. This means you might still have to pay them on any taxable profits for the year in which you reach state pension age. You will be exempt from payment of Class 4 NIC from the beginning of the following tax year.

In other words, you stop paying Class 4 NIC from the start of the tax year after the one in which you reach state pension age.

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What do I do if I think I have overpaid NIC?

You might find that you overpay NIC in certain circumstances, including if you continue to pay NIC once you have reached your state pension age. If you think this might apply to you look at our 'tax basics section' for more information.

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