Check your contributions to keep your pension and other entitlements
National Insurance contributions are paid in order to qualify for certain benefits and the state pension. You will start paying national insurance if you are over 16 and either:
an employee earning over £183 per week; or
self employed and making a profit of £6,485 or more per yea
You may have gaps in your contribution record due to e.g. low earnings or unemployment. This is a common issue for women who have taken time out of work to care for children, but can equally apply to men. Gaps can mean that some years do not count towards your state pension leading to reduced payments. However you can make voluntary contributions to fill any gaps. Note that if you earn between £120 and £183 a week, your contributions are treated as having been paid to protect your National Insurance record.
You can check your National Insurance record here: https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record
This will also tell you how much it will cost to plug any gaps.
You may want to pay voluntary contributions because:
you’re close to State Pension age and do not have enough qualifying years to get the full State Pension
you know you will not be able to get the qualifying years you need to get the full State Pension during your working life
you’re self-employed and do not have to pay Class 2 contributions because you have low profits
you live outside the UK, but you want to qualify for some benefits
Voluntary contributions do not always increase your State Pension. Contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if you’ll benefit from voluntary contributions.
If you’re employed, you stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.
If you’re self-employed you stop paying:
Class 2 National Insurance when you reach State Pension age
Class 4 National Insurance from 6 April (start of the tax year) after you reach State Pension age