If a problem with National Insurance is affecting your benefits
You'll need a National Insurance number to claim benefits, even if you've never worked before. You'll also need to have paid some National Insurance to qualify for certain benefits.
If you don't have one, you'll need to apply for a National Insurance number at nidirect.
You can also check where to find your National Insurance number at nidirect.
If you've been told you haven't paid enough National Insurance to claim a benefit
You can check how much National Insurance you've paid on GOV.UK. You'll need to set up an online account to check.
If you think you've paid more National Insurance than your record shows, you should contact the National Insurance Contributions Office. It’s best to write - keep a copy so you have a record of what you’ve asked.
You should write even if you haven't paid enough to get the benefit you're claiming - it'll help if you need to claim in future. For example, you need to have paid National Insurance for a total of 10 years to get a reduced state pension.
Check if you've paid the right type of National Insurance
You should also check what type of National Insurance you've paid in case it's been recorded in the wrong way. There are different types of National Insurance - each type is called a 'class'. You can check the different classes on GOV.UK.
If your National Insurance class has been recorded in the wrong way, it could affect the benefits you're entitled to. For example, you can only claim contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance if you've paid enough Class 1 National Insurance.
Write to the National Insurance Contributions Office to ask for the information to be corrected.
What to write in your letter
Explain why you think your record is wrong and include copies of any evidence you have. Evidence could include things like payslips or a P60 that show the National Insurance you've paid.
Post the letter at the Post Office and ask them for proof of postage - you might need to prove when you sent it. Send it to:
HMRC National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
You can call the National Insurance Contributions Office on 0300 200 3500 if you'd prefer.
Calls cost up to 12p a minute from landlines and up to 45p a minute from mobiles. It should be free if you call from your mobile and have landline calls included in your contract.
Make a note of the date and time you call the office. Also write down the name of the person you spoke to. You might need these details if you need to prove you contacted them.
Getting a reply
Once you've contacted the National Insurance Contributions Office, you should get a letter telling you if they're going to change your record.
If the change means you'll qualify for the benefit you've applied for, you should challenge the decision to turn you down. If you're successful, your payments will be backdated to when you were refused.
If the letter says your National Insurance record is going to stay the same, you can appeal the decision on GOV.UK.
If you've been refused National Insurance credits
You can get National Insurance credits to fill gaps in your payments. You might get National Insurance credits for example if you're getting benefits because you're not working or ill.
You can check you're eligible for National Insurance credits on GOV.UK.
If you're eligible you should challenge the decision to refuse you National Insurance credits on GOV.UK. If you're successful HMRC will update your record and give you National Insurance credits. This means it'll be like you're still paying National Insurance - without taking any money from you.