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I am in Northern Ireland and my partner wishes to claim contribution based ESA. I work too much so she cannot claim income related. Well anyway, she has been self employed on and off for the last 4 years. She has paid one year of national insurance contributions. My question is, do the two years of contribtuions that are required to apply have to be the most recent two tax years? She was able to pay NIC's for 2015/16, but was not fully self employed for 2016/17 so wasnt able to pay that year. If she pays NIC's for 2017/2018 would that be enough?