National Insurance is an important part of the welfare state in the UK with it being a tax on earnings and self-employed profits.

Your contributions to National Insurance decide if you qualify for certain benefits and how much state pension you will get when you retire.

If you have a monthly paycheck as an employee you will see National Insurance contributions taken off your wage.

Some may have questions on who exactly pays National Insurance and if pensioners have to do so.

Who pays for National Insurance?

You pay for National Insurance if you are over the age of 16 and are an employee earning more than £242 per week from one job or self-employed and making a profit of more than £12,570 a year.

Meanwhile do not pay National Insurance, but still qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension, if you’re either:

  • an employee earning from £123 to £242 a week from one job
  • self-employed and your profits are from £6,725 to £12,570 a year

Do pensioners pay National Insurance?

On the Government website, it says: "You do not pay National Insurance after you reach State Pension age - unless you’re self-employed and pay Class 4 contributions.

Recommended reading:

"You stop paying Class 4 contributions at the end of the tax year in which you reach State Pension age."

Class 4 contributions are liable if your profits are over the lower profits limit which is £12,570 for 2023/24 (£11,908 for the 2022/23 tax year).

The website adds: "You only pay Income Tax if your taxable income - including your private pension and State Pension - is more than your tax-free allowances (the amount of income you’re allowed before you pay tax)."