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Old Mar 22nd 2018, 2:10 pm   #46
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

So very happy to find this forum. These last few weeks I have been panicking about pensions, national insurance, etc. and then I finally asked the right question to google to be directed here.

I think all of my questions may have already been answered within this thread, but I would really appreciate it if somebody can reassure me that I am correct, or point out where I am wrong.

I've been living and working in Japan for almost a decade now having previously worked in the UK. I'm not intending to return to the UK any time soon, but I am not ruling it out either. (I'm married to a Japanese person if that has any importance to the following questions.) During this time in Japan I have not paid any UK NI. I've checked the gov.uk website and can see that I have already made 8 years of NI contributions (before leaving the UK) and can still make up a further shortfall of 8 years through voluntary contributions. I'm not close to retirement, so there is still enough time for me to reach 35 years' worth of payments.

So, as far as I understand, paying voluntary contributions is a very sensible thing to do. If I do, I will receive the full UK state pension even if I never return to the UK to live. If I don't, I will receive no pension (as I am currently under the 10 year minimum contributions). Is that correct? Is it as simple as that? Is there any good reason not to pay (other than saving money in the short term)?

Should I be looking to pay class 2 if possible? (They are cheaper, right?) To make up for the shortfall, do I just need to answer "yes" to the relevant questions in form CF83 (document NI38) and then they will get back to me with the details?

Do I need to rush to submit the form before the end of the financial year?

Thanks so much. As I said, this has been stressing me out recently and none of the British ex-pats I know are any more clued up than me.
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Old Mar 22nd 2018, 3:29 pm   #47
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Pay Class 2 before they disappear !
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Old Mar 22nd 2018, 5:36 pm   #48
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by labmonkey View Post
So, as far as I understand, paying voluntary contributions is a very sensible thing to do. If I do, I will receive the full UK state pension even if I never return to the UK to live.
Quote:
If you get the 35 years in, yes, but Japan is a country where you won't get an increase. It will be awarded and then stay the same.
If I don't, I will receive no pension (as I am currently under the 10 year minimum contributions). Is that correct?
Yes. Over 10 and you'll get a pro-rata amount.
Quote:
Is there any good reason not to pay (other than saving money in the short term)?
Could you do better by putting the cost into something else? Probably not, especially as you've already got 8 in.
Quote:
Should I be looking to pay class 2 if possible? (They are cheaper, right?) To make up for the shortfall, do I just need to answer "yes" to the relevant questions in form CF83 (document NI38) and then they will get back to me with the details?
Apply and they will confirm.

I read nothing on the website nor anywhere else to suggest I would be eligible for class two rates but they said I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
Pay Class 2 before they disappear !
Yes
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Old Mar 22nd 2018, 10:19 pm   #49
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Yes. Over 10 and you'll get a pro-rata amount.

I read nothing on the website nor anywhere else to suggest I would be eligible for class two rates but they said I could.

Yes
You qualify for Class 2 for the time you have been employed outside of the UK.
Provide details of the employer(s) and dates employed in your application.
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Old Mar 22nd 2018, 11:39 pm   #50
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exp76 View Post
You qualify for Class 2 for the time you have been employed outside of the UK.
Provide details of the employer(s) and dates employed in your application.
I have not been employed outside of the UK.
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Old Mar 23rd 2018, 12:26 am   #51
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Anyone use Transferwise to make voluntary contributions from overseas?
Did it transfer reasonably quickly
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Old Mar 23rd 2018, 3:55 am   #52
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

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I have not been employed outside of the UK.
In that case you have to pay class 3.
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Old Mar 23rd 2018, 10:21 pm   #53
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by labmonkey View Post
So very happy to find this forum. These last few weeks I have been panicking about pensions, national insurance, etc. and then I finally asked the right question to google to be directed here.

I think all of my questions may have already been answered within this thread, but I would really appreciate it if somebody can reassure me that I am correct, or point out where I am wrong.

I've been living and working in Japan for almost a decade now having previously worked in the UK. I'm not intending to return to the UK any time soon, but I am not ruling it out either. (I'm married to a Japanese person if that has any importance to the following questions.) During this time in Japan I have not paid any UK NI. I've checked the gov.uk website and can see that I have already made 8 years of NI contributions (before leaving the UK) and can still make up a further shortfall of 8 years through voluntary contributions. I'm not close to retirement, so there is still enough time for me to reach 35 years' worth of payments.

So, as far as I understand, paying voluntary contributions is a very sensible thing to do. If I do, I will receive the full UK state pension even if I never return to the UK to live. If I don't, I will receive no pension (as I am currently under the 10 year minimum contributions). Is that correct? Is it as simple as that? Is there any good reason not to pay (other than saving money in the short term)?

Should I be looking to pay class 2 if possible? (They are cheaper, right?) To make up for the shortfall, do I just need to answer "yes" to the relevant questions in form CF83 (document NI38) and then they will get back to me with the details?

Do I need to rush to submit the form before the end of the financial year?

Thanks so much. As I said, this has been stressing me out recently and none of the British ex-pats I know are any more clued up than me.
I would say that this is an exact carbon copy of my situation. Try to sort is as soon as possible because the Government are stopping the option soon.
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Old Mar 23rd 2018, 10:31 pm   #54
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

you will not get the FULL pension its will be based on years you have contributed to. So its like 20% for 10years contributions 45% for 20years. Its 35 years for full right now.
If you claim to be self employed THEY DO CHECK as they did with me.
They will pay you in Japan but you need to check if its index linked.
It is worth doing due to the long term returns.
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Old Mar 25th 2018, 2:55 am   #55
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Thanks to everyone for their replies. Too many of you to thank by name!

Before I found this thread I wrote emails to the gov.uk website, but their automatic reply said it may take several weeks for them to reply personally. It seems to me that I am better applying asap before they send me any reply.

@Benson55, if I can make up some of my current shortfall, I should easily be able to reach 35 years of contribution before I reach retirement age. Although I am extremely doubtful that the current rules will apply by then. No guarantees in life unfortunately.
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Old Mar 25th 2018, 4:59 am   #56
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

It takes around four months to get a reply, as I have found and I have been dealing with them for 4 years now.
Also things seem to change time after time. The latest change is to ask me why I sent them a cheque and what is it for even though they have all the reference numbers, file numbers, NI number on every letter i send. Their address keeps changing.
I think its luck that makes up the amount to 35 years rather than cash.
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Old Mar 25th 2018, 5:50 am   #57
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

That sounds a pain. Fortunately for me I still have my UK bank account, so can set up the direct debit. Hopefully that will be less troublesome than sending a cheque.

I now have a specific question about the form that I want to confirm:
Question 12 asks if you ARE ordinarily resident in the UK, but the notes state
Quote:
"When you tell us your ‘ordinarily resident’ status you must base this on your circumstances at the time you left the UK."
So despite the word "are" in the question, I should treat it as "were". If I am wrong, please tell me. Just in case I have added a note about this in my cover letter (with the additional information that did not fit in the form).
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Old Mar 25th 2018, 1:39 pm   #58
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exp76 View Post
In that case you have to pay class 3.
But as I stated, they already confirmed I am eligible for class 2 and accepted a payment on that basis.

That's why I recommend making an application. Sometimes guidance doesn't give the full information.

Last edited by BristolUK; Mar 25th 2018 at 1:43 pm.
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Old Mar 26th 2018, 11:16 am   #59
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by labmonkey View Post
So very happy to find this forum. These last few weeks I have been panicking about pensions, national insurance, etc. and then I finally asked the right question to google to be directed here.

I think all of my questions may have already been answered within this thread, but I would really appreciate it if somebody can reassure me that I am correct, or point out where I am wrong.

I've been living and working in Japan for almost a decade now having previously worked in the UK. I'm not intending to return to the UK any time soon, but I am not ruling it out either. (I'm married to a Japanese person if that has any importance to the following questions.) During this time in Japan I have not paid any UK NI. I've checked the gov.uk website and can see that I have already made 8 years of NI contributions (before leaving the UK) and can still make up a further shortfall of 8 years through voluntary contributions. I'm not close to retirement, so there is still enough time for me to reach 35 years' worth of payments.

So, as far as I understand, paying voluntary contributions is a very sensible thing to do. If I do, I will receive the full UK state pension even if I never return to the UK to live. If I don't, I will receive no pension (as I am currently under the 10 year minimum contributions). Is that correct? Is it as simple as that? Is there any good reason not to pay (other than saving money in the short term)?

Should I be looking to pay class 2 if possible? (They are cheaper, right?) To make up for the shortfall, do I just need to answer "yes" to the relevant questions in form CF83 (document NI38) and then they will get back to me with the details?

Do I need to rush to submit the form before the end of the financial year?

Thanks so much. As I said, this has been stressing me out recently and none of the British ex-pats I know are any more clued up than me.
Highly recommend making lump sum back-payments of up to 11 years if you
can afford it cash-flow wise. Firstly complete the NI38 form and they clarify it for you all.

I've helped out a lot of people with this (as well as myself) so give me a shout if you have any further questions about it all!
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Old Mar 26th 2018, 12:27 pm   #60
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Default Re: Voluntary National Insurance payments - How?

Thanks a lot. I sent the form off a couple of hours before you replied, so hopefully all is ok. Or there will be a frantic few posts from me in a few weeks/months time!

Will definitely read through this forum in the coming months. I imagine that there's a lot of knowhow here. All the British ex-pats I know in person are as clueless as (or worse than) me.

Thanks again to everybody.
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