I'm trying to take advantage of the exceptional opportunity to fill some of the gaps in my NI contributions to bump up my future state pension. I lived and worked in the UK until 30-ish and have now been living and working in the EU for 25-odd years. After several hours of research I have the following questions / comments.
I'm still working (abroad). Does this mean I can't top up? Am I ineligible for Class 3? If so, am I eligible for Class 2 even though I'm not self-employed? Does this affect the payment amounts that are displayed in my online "Pension Forcast / NI Record" (the "Rates" seem to be very different)?
In several places it is said that filling the gaps won't necessarily increase the state pension (and therefore we should contact the Future Pension Centre) but it would be nice to have some general idea of the cases. I imagine, with my 25 year gap, that filling 15 of them would increase mine.
It would be nice to be able to get the 18 digit number online. I've never had one and I can see it's going to be a long wait on the phone.
Is the dead-line for the exceptional 15 year top up really July 31st? Just looking for reassurance ... if its April 5th it's going to be pretty tight (especially if the phone lines are all clogged).
Thanks to anyone who can help me with these queries.