The purpose of the voluntary contribution scheme is to provide persons who were, but are no longer, compulsorily insured under social insurance with the opportunity to pay contributions directly to my Department. Voluntary contributions ensure continuity of social insurance for pension purposes during periods where former contributors are no longer insured as employed or self-employed contributors or are not in receipt of credited employment contributions.
The scheme’s entry criteria require applicants to have at least 520 social insurance contributions paid from either employment or self-employment. Furthermore, an application must be made within 60 months (5 years) from the end of the contribution year during which the applicant last paid a compulsory social insurance contribution or was last awarded a credited employment contribution.
I am satisfied that the voluntary contribution scheme is effective in providing those persons with a way to maintain their social insurance record for pension purposes. There are no plans at this time to change the qualifying conditions.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.