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Easy Ways to Check Your UK National Insurance Record In 2023

Easy Ways to Check Your UK National Insurance Record In 2023

Checking UK National Insurance records is important for retirement planning and financial security.

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Introduction

The UK national insurance record is vital to every British’s financial life. A record of your national insurance contributions determines your eligibility for state benefits such as the State Pension, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance.

While it is usually updated automatically each time you make a contribution or receive credits, it is important to be aware of how to check it from time to time to avoid discrepancies and ensure that you are receiving the correct benefits.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a comprehensive guide to checking your national insurance record in 2023. It will cover the different ways to access it and the step-by-step instructions on how to check it. The blog will also highlight the importance of regularly checking your national insurance record and what to do if you notice any discrepancies.

What is the UK National Insurance record?

In simplest terms, the UK National Insurance record is a record of an individual’s national insurance contributions, which are payments made by employed and self-employed individuals to the UK government.

It requires an individual to have a National Insurance number which is a unique identifier assigned to every person who wants to work, study or live in the UK. However, it also allows individuals to make voluntary contributions even if they live or work abroad, as long as they pay enough to qualify for benefits.

The UK national insurance record directly affects an individual’s entitlement to state benefits, particularly pension. For individuals who are approaching retirement age, it is important to check their records regularly to ensure that they will receive the correct benefits upon retirement.

How can I access my UK National Insurance record?

There are different ways to access your national insurance record in the UK. The most convenient and efficient way is through the government’s online service.

To access your national insurance record online, you will need to create a personal tax account. This account will give you access and other government services, such as tax information and employment history.

To create a personal tax account, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, and national insurance number.

If you prefer not to use the online service, you can also access your national insurance record through the telephone service. You will need to call the National Insurance helpline and provide your national insurance number, name, and date of birth. The representative will then provide you with the necessary information.

Finally, if you prefer to use the post, you can request a copy of your national insurance record by filling out the BR19 form, which is available on the government’s website.

You will need to provide your name, address, and national insurance number. Once you have completed the form, you can mail it to the address provided on the form, and a copy of your national insurance record will be sent to you by post.

In some cases, you may be asked to provide additional information, such as your address or employment history, to help the government verify your identity and provide you with accurate information.

UK National Insurance record
Check your UK National Insurance record online. Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash 

Can I check the UK National Insurance record of a deceased family member?

Yes, it is possible to check the National Insurance record of a deceased family member. You can request their record by completing an application form and sending it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

You can download the application form from the UK government’s website or request a form by calling the National Insurance helpline.

When completing the form, you will need to provide the full name of the deceased person, their date of birth, their national insurance number, the date of their death, and your relationship to the deceased person.

Once you have completed the form, you can send it to HMRC. It can take up to 40 days for HMRC to process your request and send you the national insurance record. You can also call their helpline to check the status of your application.

Are there any changes to the National Insurance record system in 2023 that I should be aware of?

The UK government regularly reviews and updates its policies and systems, so it is always a good idea to check the official government website or contact HMRC for the most up-to-date information on National Insurance records and any changes to the system.

This 2023, however, individuals are advised that they can fill gaps in their National Insurance history from April 6, 2006, to the present date by making voluntary contributions, which is an extension from the usual six-year limit.

But, starting April 6, 2023, the limit will revert to the normal six years, meaning contributions can only be made going back to the 2017-2018 tax year.

Last year, the UK national insurance also raised its contributions and dividend tax by 1.25%. The increase was made to fund health and social care.

The rise in dividend tax affected the basic and higher-rate taxpayers, with the basic rate rising from 7.5% to 8.75% and the higher rate increasing from 32.5% to 33.75%.

This April 2023, a Health and Social Care Levy will replace the national insurance contributions increase.

What should I do if I notice an error on my UK National Insurance record?

If you notice an error on your UK National Insurance record, it’s important to take action to correct it as soon as possible.

This is because your National Insurance record is used to determine your eligibility for certain benefits, such as the State Pension, and incorrect information could affect the benefits you are entitled to.

To correct an error, you should contact HMRC by phone or by filling out an online form. You will need to provide information about the error and evidence to support your claim.

For example, if you believe that you made National Insurance contributions that are not reflected on your record, you may need to provide pay slips or P60s as evidence.

Once you have submitted your request to HMRC, they will investigate the error and make any necessary corrections to your National Insurance record.

This may take some time, so it’s important to be patient and follow up with HMRC if you haven’t heard back from them after a reasonable amount of time.

What happens if I have gaps in my UK National Insurance record?

If you have gaps in your national insurance record, this can affect your eligibility for certain benefits. However, you may be able to fill these gaps by making voluntary contributions.

Normally, you can only make voluntary contributions for the past six tax years. However, as of 2022, there is currently an extension in place that allows individuals to fill gaps in their national insurance history from April 6, 2006, to the present date by making voluntary contributions.

It’s important to note that the cost of making voluntary contributions varies depending on your individual circumstances. You can check how much it will cost by using the government website’s national insurance voluntary contributions calculator.

If you have gaps in your UK national insurance record due to unemployment, illness, or caring responsibilities, you may be eligible for national insurance credits, which can help fill these gaps.

For example, if you receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit, or Carer’s Allowance, you may be eligible for National Insurance credits.

UK national insurance record
Having a UK national insurance record ensures you will get state pension benefits when you retire. Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

How does my National Insurance record affect my state pension?

Your UK national insurance record plays a crucial role in determining your eligibility for State Pension in the country. To qualify for the full State Pension, you need to have a minimum of 35 years of national insurance contributions or credits.

If you have less than 35 years of contributions or credits, your State Pension entitlement will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.

For example, if you have 25 years of contributions or credits, you will be entitled to 25/35 of the full State Pension.

To estimate your State Pension entitlement, you can use the government’s online State Pension forecast service. This service will provide you with an estimate of how much State Pension you may be entitled to based on your UK national insurance record and current pension rules.

To use the service, you will need to provide some basic information about your National Insurance record, such as your National Insurance number, your employment history, and any periods when you were not working or paying National Insurance contributions.

However, it’s important to note that the State Pension forecast service estimates your entitlement based on current rules, and your actual entitlement may be subject to change in the future.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the State Pension is just one source of income in retirement, and you may need to make additional provisions for your retirements, such as private pension savings or other forms of investment.

What other benefits or services are linked to my UK national insurance record?

In addition to the State Pension, your UK national insurance record is also linked to a number of other benefits and services in the UK. Here are some of the main ones:

Jobseeker’s Allowance

This is a means-tested benefit that is designed to support people who are out of work and looking for employment. If you have been employed and paid National Insurance contributions in the past, you may be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

To receive the benefit, you must actively seek work and be available to take up a job offer. The amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances, such as your age, savings, household income, and the amount of National Insurance contributions you have made.

Employment and Support Allowance

This is a benefit paid to people who cannot work due to an illness or disability.

To be eligible, you must have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the past or have been credited with them. The amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances and the type of Employment and Support Allowance you are entitled to.

There are two types of Employment and Support Allowance: the support group, which is for people who have limited capacity for work and no current work-related requirements, and the work-related activity group, which is for people who are expected to undertake work-related activity to improve their prospects of finding work.

Maternity Allowance

This benefit is paid to women who are pregnant or have recently given birth and do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay. It is intended to help with the costs of living during the period of maternity leave.

To be eligible for Maternity Allowance, you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due. You must also earn an average of £30 per week or more during 13 of those weeks.

Additionally, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance if you have stopped working due to your pregnancy or are self-employed and have stopped working because of your pregnancy.

The amount of Maternity Allowance that you can receive depends on your individual circumstances. You may be eligible for either the standard rate or the higher rate.

The standard rate is currently set at £151.97 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for up to 39 weeks.

The higher rate is currently set at £163.73 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for up to 14 weeks.

Maternity Allowance is paid every two or four weeks, depending on your preference. It is usually paid directly into your bank account.

If you receive Maternity Allowance, you may also be eligible for other benefits, such as Housing Benefits or Council Tax Reduction.

Bereavement Support Payment

Bereavement Support Payment is a UK government benefit that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals who have lost a spouse or civil partner.

It is designed to help with the immediate financial costs that may arise following the death of a partner, such as funeral expenses, and to provide ongoing support for the first 18 months after the bereavement.

It is made up of two parts: the Bereavement Support Payment (one-off payment) and the Bereavement Support Payment (monthly payment).

The one-off payment is a lump sum payment that is paid tax-free to the surviving spouse or civil partner. The amount of the payment depends on whether the claimant has children and the age of the surviving spouse or civil partner.

The one-off payment is intended to help cover the immediate costs of the funeral and other expenses that may arise following the death of a partner.

The monthly payment is a tax-free, regular payment that is made to the surviving spouse or civil partner for up to 18 months following the bereavement. The amount of the payment depends on whether the claimant has children and the age of the surviving spouse or civil partner.

This payment is intended to provide ongoing financial support during the initial period of bereavement while the surviving spouse or civil partner adjusts to the new financial circumstances.

To be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment, the claimant must meet certain criteria. They must be under the state pension age at the time of the partner’s death, and the partner must have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions.

The surviving spouse or civil partner must also be living in the UK, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, or a country that has a reciprocal agreement with the UK. In some cases, the claimant may be eligible for an additional Bereavement Support Payment if they are responsible for a child or are pregnant at the time of their partner’s death.

State Pension Credit

State Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit in the UK that provides financial support to people who have reached the state pension age and have limited income and savings.

The benefit is designed to help eligible individuals and couples top up their income to a minimum level, which is currently £177.10 per week for single people and £270.30 per week for couples.

To be eligible for State Pension Credit, you must be a resident of the UK and have reached the state pension age, which is currently 66 years for both men and women.

You may still be eligible if you have a partner who has not yet reached the state pension age, but only if your combined income is below a certain level.

In addition, you must have limited income and savings, which are assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to determine your eligibility.

To qualify for State Pension Credit, you must have a weekly income below the minimum. This includes income from sources such as your state pension, any other pensions, earnings, and certain benefits like Housing Benefits and Universal Credit. The DWP will also consider any savings and investments you have when assessing your eligibility for the benefit.

You can receive a guaranteed credit if you meet the eligibility criteria, which tops your weekly income to the minimum level.

You may also be eligible for a savings credit, which is a top-up for people with savings or income from a second pension. However, the savings credit is being phased out and is no longer available to new claimants.

UK national insurance record
A UK National Insurance gives you access to a plethora of government-initiated financial support. Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Conclusion

In conclusion, keeping track of your UK National Insurance record is important for many reasons, such as ensuring eligibility for state benefits, including State Pension.

Fortunately, checking your record has never been easier, and various options are available to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer to use the government’s online service, request a written record by post, or use the phone service, there is a method that will work for you.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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