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From 6 January 2024, the main rate of class 1 National Insurance contributions (NIC) deducted from employees’ wages is reduced from 12% to 10%. From 6 April 2024, the main rate of self-employed class 4 NIC will reduce from 9% to 8% and class 2 NIC will no longer be due. Those with profits below £6,725 a year can continue to pay class 2 NIC to keep their entitlement to certain state benefits. Our guidance will be updated in full in spring 2024.

Updated on 6 April 2023

National insurance credits

National Insurance credits are different from National Insurance contributions. Credits are sometimes given in certain situations where you do not work, or only have a limited ability to work and therefore might not be paying National Insurance contributions. These credits protect your future entitlement to some state benefits and state pension.

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National Insurance credits

In certain circumstances, you may be given National Insurance credits, even though you are not working. These count towards some, but not all entitlements. The main benefit they count towards is the state pension.

You must be aged 16 or over and below state pension age for the year in which you may be credited.

There are many different circumstances in which you might be eligible to receive National Insurance credits, including being unable to work due to illness, or caring for someone.

There are two types of National Insurance credits: class 1 credits and class 3 credits. The type of credits you might get depends on your individual circumstances. You have to meet certain conditions to receive National Insurance credits. You can read about the different National Insurance credits on GOV.UK.

In some circumstances, you should be given National Insurance credits automatically – for example, if you get employment and support allowance or carer’s allowance. In other circumstances, you have to make a claim.

Caring for children

If you are responsible for a child or children, whether or not they are disabled, you may be able to get National Insurance credits that count towards the state pension and bereavement benefits.

Child benefit

If you are aged 16 or over and claim child benefit for looking after a child under the age of 12, you will automatically receive class 3 National Insurance credits.

If you are the partner of and live with a child benefit recipient and you want to transfer entitlement of the credits from your spouse or partner to yourself, you can do this using form CF411A.

Foster carers and kinship carers

If are aged 16 or over and are an approved foster carer or kinship carer of a child under the age of 12 you can apply for National Insurance credits using form CF411A. If you qualify, your National Insurance record will be credited with class 3 contributions.

Specified adult childcare credits

If you are a grandparent or other family member of a child under the age of 12 who you look after because their parents (or main carers) are working, you may be able to claim specified adult childcare credits.

You can find out more about these credits and how to claim them on our page Specified adult childcare credits.

National Insurance credits for other carers

In some circumstances you may also qualify for National Insurance credits if you are caring for someone other than a child. You can read more about this on our page National Insurance credits for carers.

National Insurance treated as paid

In certain circumstances you can be treated as having made National Insurance contributions, even if you do not earn enough to be required to actually pay them. This applies for both employees and self-employed people. Situations where you qualify for National Insurance ‘treated as paid’ are different from National Insurance ‘credits’. 

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