I’m from Brazil and have never paid National Insurance. Can I start now?

30 August 2019

Q

I am 86 and was born in Brazil but I have lived in the UK since 1999.

I have dual citizenship.

Despite being here 20 years, I have never paid National Insurance, mostly because of ignorance. I have always taken on low-paid jobs, mostly earning around £650 per month.

When I started at one company, they asked for my National Insurance number but then said I was already over the age for paying NI anyway and I didn’t need one.

So here I am, in good health, still working to keep myself active, but with no prospect of having a state pension. Last week I applied for my NI number and I have an interview soon.

If they give me an NI number – despite my age and low earnings – will I be able to backdate and pay for Class 3 NI contributions for the past 10 years, so that I can apply for state pension straight after? And where would I go to calculate these contributions?

From
IS/Grantham

A

Class 3 National Insurance (NI) contributions can be paid by people to fill in gaps in their record to qualify for benefits such as the state pension.

However, there are two issues that mean you won’t to be able to backdate your claim for NI contributions. The first is that you were over state pension age when you came to the UK and you are unable to pay NI contributions for years after state pension age. In addition, you would only be able to backdate a claim for six years and you need to have 10 years to receive any kind of state pension entitlement.

You don’t mention if you are single or married in your letter but if you are single, then given your current earnings, you should be able to claim Pension Credit, which would bring you pretty much up the state pension level anyway. Please note that any savings you have will be taken into account when eligibility for this benefit is being assessed.