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Social Security

Do I need to pay National Insurance when I leave my job?

What happens if I don't pay?

How do I keep up my contributions?

Non mean tested benefits

Universal State Pension

Employment Support Allowance

Means Tested Benefits

Bereavement – husband/wife/civil partner died after 5.4.2017


National Insurance Contribution

Everyone who is under the pension age works for an employer and is paid over an amount set by government each year (the Threshold Limit,) pays National Insurance contributions. They accumulate in each tax year and once sufficient have been paid the year counts as a ‘qualifying year'. National Insurance is paid on earnings over the Threshold Limit.

Each qualifying year counts toward your State Pension and also entitles you to Jobseekers Allowance and other benefits. For details of how to qualify for these benefits go to the Social Security index. Self employed people pay a flat rate contribution each week but these do not qualify you for Jobseekers Allowance.

If you are a married women still paying a married woman's reduced contribution, this does not entitle you to any benefits so it is worthwhile checking whether changing to full contributions could enhance your State Pension position. Go to the State Pension pages via the Social Security contents pages to find out more.


Do I need to pay National Insurance when I leave my job?

There is no liability to pay N.I. if you are not working.

You can pay voluntary contributions to protect your rights to a State Pension – check before paying –see if it worth paying below

If you are unsure whether you have paid enough contributions in a tax year, it is worth contacting the Contributions Office of HMRC six months after the end of the tax year to enquire.

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What happens if I don't pay?

For State Pension purposes it may be necessary to get more qualifying years to maximise your entitlement.

Although there is no legal requirement to pay unless you are working, each year you do not pay can reduce your State Pension by about 4%. If you do not pay for about two years you may run out of entitlement to Jobseekers Benefits.

Any Bereavement Benefits may also be reduced if you do not have the required years of NI contributions.

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How do I keep up with my contributions?

You have four options;

Work as an employee or become self employed and pay contributions on your income. If you work you will have to pay as long as your income is above the lower threshold limit until you reach state pension age.

Sign on for Jobseeker's Allowance. Credits are given on a week by week basis for as long as you satisfy the conditions.

Claim Employment and Support Allowance if you go sick. Credits are given weekly as in Jobseeker's Allowance.

Pay Class 3 Voluntary Contributions on a weekly basis. You can apply to the Contributions Office of HMRC to pay contributions by bankers order or you can pay them as a lump sum.

Is it worth paying voluntary contributions?

It is essential to check your position before you pay voluntary class 3 contributions. Telephone the pension service on 0345 3000 168 to see how many years you are short, what it will cost and how much extra pension you could earn by paying.

You can also obtain a satement of your State Pension entitlement on-line through this link GOVUK

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Non Means Tested Benefits

Benefits whilst Unable to Work

Jobseekers Allowances (contributory)

To be eligible for Jobseekers Allowance you must satisfy the following conditions:-

  • Be fit, available for and actively seeking work
  • Sign a Jobseekers Agreement
  • Paid sufficient full-rate National Insurance contributions

How to claim
To claim telephone 0800328 934. You can also claim online following this link GOVUK

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Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) Contribution Based

You may be able to get ESA if you have an illness or disability which affects your ability to work and:-

  • Your Statutory Sick Pay has ceased

OR- You are self employed or unemployed
AND -You are under State Pension Age
AND - You have paid sufficient National Insurance Contributions


How to claim

Through Job Centre Plus on 0800 328 5644

New State Pension

This new state pension will apply to women born on or after 6.4.1953 and men born on or after 6.4.1951 and will be a single tier pension.

People who attained pension age before 6.4.16 will not be affected by the new rules.

See 'update your past-information manual'.

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State Pension Age

State Pension age is the earliest you can get your State Pension.

Current State Pension Age

For men born before 6.12.1953 the State pension age is 65
For women born after 5.4.1950 but before 6.12.53 their State pension age is between 60-65.
Men and woman born between 06/12/53-05/10/54 age 65+. For people born after 5/4/1954 -age 66, born after 5/4/1961 age 67, born after 5/4/1977 age 68. Government intends changing pension for people born after 5/4/1970 (legislation awaited).

You can calculate your State Pension Age by following this link GOVUK

Claiming Your State Pension

Four months before you reach your State Pension age the Pension Service will write to you inviting you to claim.

You can claim in writing, on line following this link GOVUK or by phone 0800 731 7898 

Your Choices at State Pension Age
You can:-

  • Stop working and get your State Pension
  • Continue working and get your State Pension
  • Put off claiming your State Pension (deferral)

Deferring your State Pension

You can choose not to take your pension at State Pension age and later either receive a bigger State Pension. It is recommended you take advice before you decide.

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Bereavement – husband/wife/civil partner died after 5.4.2017

Bereavement Support Payment

Could be eligible if partner paid NI for at least 25 weeks ( or died as result of disease/ accident at work) AND At death you were under state pension age.

To claim 0800 731 0461

Benefits for people with disabilities

Attendance Allowance

A tax free benefit payable to people aged 65+ who need additional help with personal care because of their illness or disability. To claim 0345 605 6055

Disability  Living Allowance

A tax free benefit payable to people who need help with personal care and/or have mobility difficulties and were under 65 when the problem started.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

A new benefit introduced from April 2013. It will replace Disability Living Allowance for disabled people aged 16-64. A tax free non means tested benefit. To claim 0800 731  2222.


Entitlement to PIP is not based on your disability but the help you need because of your condition/disability.

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Carer’s Allowance

A taxable benefit for people who look after a disabled person.

To qualify you must:-

  • Be aged 16 or over


  • Spend 35hrs a week caring for a disabled person who receives Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Personal Independence Payment (care component).

Who does not qualify

  • People in full time education
  • People earning more than £110 per week
  • People receiving State Pension or another Benefit worth more than the weekly rate of Carers’ Allowance.

To claim 0800731 0297

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Means Tested Benefits

There are a range of benefits available to people on a low income and with savings below certain limits.

People Under Pension Age

Contact point your local Job Centre/Local Council Housing Benefit Office

People over Pension Age

Pension Credit Helpline 0800 991234
And  Local Council Housing Benefit Office.

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Bucks HP22 6EA