Although a person may be eligible to pay voluntary contributions, it may not always make sense, since not every gap in a contribution record leads to a reduction in benefit entitlement. It is therefore critical to obtain a Pension Forecast before making payment of voluntary contributions, to determine what entitlement, if any, already exists and what increase in entitlement, if any, will result from making the additional contributions.

For many years, contributors needed a qualifying record for 90% of their working life to obtain a full basic state pension, so a gap of five years was generally insignificant and Class 3 contributions would have been wasted if paid for those years.

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