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National Insurance and benefits

By Ian Robinson

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National Insurance and benefits

See our round-up of the benefits you may receive as a result of making National Insurance contributions.

National Insurance contributions currently build up your entitlement to what are known as 'contributory benefits'. 

These include:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance (contribution-based element) 
  • Employment and Suport Allowance (ESA – contribution-based element)
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement benefits (Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent's Allowance)
  • Incapacity Benefit.  

Find out more: National Insurance rates – work out how much you need to pay to be entitled to these benefits

Jobseeker’s Allowance 

If you are unemployed, you can currently claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). 

  • Contribution-based JSA. You should be eligible for contribution-based JSA if you have paid or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions. This ceases after six months. It is counted as taxable income. 
  • 'New style' JSA. If you are entitled to apply for universal credit, you may be able to apply for New Style JSA. You can apply for this on its own, or in combination with Universal Credit. If you qualify for both, the value of your JSA will be deducted from your Universal Credit - meaning you won't end up any better off.
  • You’ll get less than the full amount if you have savings of over £6,000. If you have savings of over £16,000, you probably won’t qualify for income-based JSA at all.

Employment and Support Allowance

A benefit that pays out in the event of physical or mental illness. Entitlement conditions are broadly similar to those for Jobseeker's Allowance and based on your contributions record in the case of contribution-based  ESA.

Benefit changes 

Both income-based JSA and income-based ESA are likely to be replaced by Universal Credit ultimately. The new benefit also replaces Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

Full details have yet to be announced. 

Bereavement benefits

Previously known as the Widow's pension, you may qualify for the Bereavement Allowance if you are at least 45 and below state pension age. You'll need to be at least 45, and below state pension age. You can claim for up to 52 weeks, from the date your spouse or civil partner died. Entitlement is based on the NI record of your spouse (most will qualify). 

You won't get this allowance if:

  • you remarry, or join a new civil partnership, or move in with someone
  • you got divorced before your partner died
  • you're in prison

Where you have no dependents, bereavement allowance is paid for a year after death to those aged between 45 and state-pension age. The maximum you can get is £112.55 a week if you're aged between 55 and state-pension age. The overall amount depends on your age and your partner's National Insurance contributions. 

Widowed Parent's Allowance

Has the same qualifying criteria 

  • Last updated: April 2017
  • Updated by: Tom Wilson
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