Should I volunteer for National Insurance?

October 2015 saw the launch of a new scheme enabling pensioners to ‘top up’ their state pension with a new class of voluntary National Insurance (NI) contribution.

Many older people will naturally be wondering if they should take advantage. A lot will depend on your personal circumstances, but here we give an overview of Class 3A NICS and answer some frequently asked questions.

Q: Who is eligible?

A: The option to pay Class 3A contributions will be available to all pensioners who reach state pension age before the introduction of the new state pension in April 2016.

In other words, you must be either:

  • a man born before 6th April 1951; or
  • a woman born before 6th April 1953.

Q: Is it a permanent change?

A: No. The scheme is expected to run for 18 months, from October 12, 2015 to April 5, 2017.

Q: How much can I top up by?

A: Those who choose to take advantage will be able to ‘top up’ their pension by up to £25 per week.

Q: Who will it help?

A: The scheme is likely to prove particularly helpful to individuals who may have lower-than-normal state pension entitlement, such as women or the self-employed.

Q: How have the rates been decided?

A: The government claims that the state pension top-up has been set at a fair rate that ensures both individual contributors and the taxpayer get a fair deal.

Q: Will my gender determine my rate?

A: No. The rates are the same for men and women.

Q: How will I benefit?

A: For a one-off payment, an individual will be entitled to an increase in their state pension under the same terms as their main state pension, increasing in line with prices inflation and with a minimum of 50% for a surviving spouse or civil partner.

Q: Can you give me some examples?

A: Yes! The following examples are based on purchasing £260 per annum additional pension:

  • Age 65 – Cost of £4,450
  • Age 70 – Cost of £779
  • Age 75 – Cost of £674

Q: How can I tell if it’s worth my while?

A: Voluntary National Insurance may prove too expensive for many, but for others it will have a role in their overall retirement strategy.

Q: Where can I get more information?

A: For professional and impartial advice on voluntary Class 3A NICs and all other areas of retirement planning, call us today on 01244 347583. We would be delighted to help.


Click here to use a personal calculator on the website.

For professional and impartial advice on all areas of retirement planning please contact Innes Reid on 01244 347583 or email

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