About the Social Security contributory scheme
The Social Security contributory scheme is like an insurance scheme.
You pay in contributions and the scheme pays out contributory benefits at times when you might not be able to earn a living, such as:
- when you have an illness or disability
- if you are starting a family
- if you are caring for someone
- if your partner dies
- if your employer goes bust
- in old age
Benefits that are currently available
The following table shows all the contributory benefits currently available.
|You have a baby
|You adopt a child
|Short Term Incapacity Allowance
|You’re signed off work with a medical certificate
|Long Term Incapacity Allowance
|You have a long-term illness or disability
|Home Carer’s Allowance
|You’re looking after someone with a long-term illness or disability
|Your husband, wife or civil partner dies
|Your husband, wife or civil partner dies and you have dependent children
|Old age pension
|You've reached pension age
|Someone dies (to help with funeral costs)
|You lose your job because your employer goes bust
These benefits are paid based on how much you’ve contributed (your contribution record) and the rules of that benefit. Contributory benefits don’t take into account your level of income or your savings.
Social Security contributions and who pays them
During your working life up to pension age, you’re liable to pay contributions, whether you’re working or not.
These contributions are used to pay contributory benefits, including the old age pension.
In 2021, of every pound we collected in contributions:
- 77p was used to pay for old age pensions
- 20p was used to pay for working age benefits
- 3p was used to run the scheme
How the Social Security scheme is different to Income Support
With the Social Security scheme, you pay in contributions and the scheme pays out contributory benefits at times when you might not be able to earn a living.
This means that if you pay your contributions, you can get benefits, regardless of how much money you have.
Income Support is a different kind of benefit. It’s designed to help low income households. You can claim Income Support if you have a low income and you meet the necessary residency and working tests.
Income Support is funded through general taxation. Social Security contributions are not used to pay Income Support.