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National Insurance

What is National Insurance?

You pay National Insurance contributions throughout your working life, to build up your entitlement to certain benefits, including the State Pension.

The contributions you pay depend on how much you earn and whether you’re employed or self-employed. You stop paying National Insurance contributions when you reach pension age. You can check your National Insurance contributions on

You may also be credited with NI contributions if you claim certain benefits.  See for more details.

When do I receive my National Insurance number?

A UK national insurance number (NINO) is given to you when you are

  • 15 years old
  • or when you apply for one if you weren’t registered in the UK benefits system

Why is my National Insurance Number important?

Your National Insurance number is unique and stays with you for life. It is used to collect a record how much National Insurance contributions you have paid, and this is used to pay your state pension when you retire. For more information visit

What happens if I haven’t used my national insurance number?

Your National Insurance number will become dormant and disappear from the HM Revenues and Customs system if you do not use it.  This will happen if you have never worked or claimed benefits in the UK.

What happens if my National Insurance number does not appear in the HM Revenues and Customs system?

This may happen if your have changed your name, if you number hasn’t been used or if you are returning to the UK after living abroad. This may cause problems when you want to claim your state pension.

Who can I contact for help with my National Insurance Number?

Contact National Insurance General Enquiries for help with your National Insurance.

Visit if you’ve lost your National Insurance number.

Where can I get benefits advice?

It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help you such as:

Visit for more benefit advice services available across Newcastle.

Last updated: May 8, 2019

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