Salon owners (and their staff) should check their NI Qualifying Years

Although it may seem a long way off for some, you should check your NI Qualifying Years regularly. We tell you why & how here.


To get the full basic State Pension when you reach retirement age, you need to have earned 30 “qualifying years” of National Insurance contributions or credits; and to get the new State Pension you’ll need 35 years.

A Qualifying Year is credited to you when you pay enough national insurance during that year, or for some reason you can claim a ‘free’ credit for that year.

If you have fewer than 30/35 qualifying years when you retire, your basic/or new State Pension will be less than the full rate (currently £129.20/£168.60 per week). However by checking your position regularly, you can ensure you earn the required 30/35 years (or at least close to it). For example, you might be able to top up ‘missing years’ or claim ‘credits’ to add to your total score – but there are time limits to do this. So read on…

What to do:

1st: Check what you have

Check how many years’ credits you have. You can do this on line and you’ll need you Government Gateway user ID:


2nd: See if you have any ‘free’ credit years you can add on

You may be able to get National Insurance credits even if you’re not paying National Insurance, for example when you’re claiming benefits because you’re ill or unemployed, or have taken time off to raise children. Have a look here to see if you can claim any missing years:


3rd: Decide if you need to plug the gap

If you have any gap years, decide whether you want (or need) to make additional contributions or claim credits to plug the gap.

For example, if you already have 26 credit years and you plan to work for at least another 4 years, then there’s little need to plug any gaps. However, if you have 10 credit years and only plan to work for another 4 years, it may be worth catching up.

You can make voluntary contributions to plug the gap, but you need to check your eligibility here:


Final points

Remember to tell your staff, family and friends to do the same! Feel free to pass them the link to this Article.

Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

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