What is National Insurance?

National Insurance (NI) is a scheme in which employees make contributions from earnings (separate from and additional to income tax) to a national fund from which benefits are provided in certain events, such as unemployment, sickness or other incapacity, maternity and retirement.

The payment of NI benefits from the NI fund depends on the contributions an employee has paid into the scheme. Each of these benefits has its own different 'qualifying conditions' which must be satisfied before payment can be made.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.