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What Is A National Insurance Number?

National Insurance is a part of life, alongside bills, taxes, and mortgage payments. You’ve probably been aware of your National Insurance number since you were 16, but how much do you actually know about it? 

Do you want to learn more about National Insurance? Are you wondering what exactly your National Insurance Number means, or why you have to pay it? 

Read on to learn more about National Insurance, including what a NI Number is, what it means, and how you can access it. 

What Is a National Insurance Number?

The vast majority of people over the age of 16 will be aware of their National Insurance Number, and many people will know it off by heart. 

This is because it’s used by a variety of people to identify you – your NI (National Insurance) number is your own personal account number. 

Your National Insurance number also ensures that your NI contributions and tax are correctly recorded. 

No two National Insurance numbers are the same – everybody’s is different. Your NI number consists of both letters and numbers following this format two letters, six numbers, one letter (for example AA123456A. 

Your NI number will remain the same regardless of whether you get married, change your name, go abroad, or register a civil partnership. 

It won’t change throughout your life – you’ll have the same number throughout your life, so it’s important that you keep your number secure. However, it’s not the end of the day if you do lose your number. 

You can find it on various pieces of documentation – for example, your P60, any letter about tax, or your payslip. 

Who Needs To Know My National Insurance Number? 

Your National Insurance number may be requested by a variety of bodies – most frequently by your employer. 

Although you can work without providing your National Insurance number, chances are, you’ll be placed on emergency tax code which can be notably more than other tax codes. 

HMRC may also request your NI number, as well as DWP (Department of Work and Pensions), including your Pension and Jobcentre Plus. 

Your local council may also request your NI number if you claim housing benefits. You’ll also need your NI number to hand when you register to vote as a way to confirm your identity. 

Another body that will need to verify your National Insurance number is the Student Loan Company – however, this is only applicable to students that apply for a student loan. 

Other financial bodies such as your ISA provider or service providers that help you buy and sell investments may also request to see your NI number. 

However, be careful when sharing your National Insurance with others as there’s a risk of it being used to commit identity fraud. 

Who Has to Pay National Insurance?

If you’re an employee over the age of 16 and your earnings are over a certain threshold, then National Insurance contributions will be automatically deducted from your income. 

However, if you’re self-employed, then they’ll be taken upon completing your annual self-assessment. 

If you’re an employee, then NI will only be deducted if you earn over £184 per week. If your weekly earnings are between £120 and £184, then your contributions will be noted as pair to protect your record. 

If you’re self-employed, you’ll only be required to owe National Insurance if you have a yearly profit of over £6,515. 

You can also pay National Insurance on a voluntary basis if you notice gaps in your NI contributions. 

How Do You Get a NI Number?

Your NI gets provided to you once you turn 16. Shortly before you turn 16 years of age, you’ll receive a letter that includes a card with your NI number on it. 

Be careful to make a note of this and try not to lose your card. If you’ve turned 16 and you haven’t received a NI number, it’s important that you apply for one. 

Although you don’t need the plastic card, you’ll need evidence that you have a National Insurance Number. If you’ve got the right to work in the UK but you don’t have a NI number, then you should call Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 to organise getting one. 

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