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In the Autumn Statement 2013, the government announced its intention to introduce a scheme to allow pensioners to top up their additional State Pension with a new class of voluntary National Insurance contribution, to be known as Class 3A.
In the Budget Statement in March 2014, the government announced more details about how the scheme will work. The Minister for Pensions announced further details and the rates of the Class 3A contributions in a statement on 2 April 2014.
An online calculator is available to work out the contribution needed to top up pensions.
The scheme will open in October 2015 and will be available to all pensioners who reach State Pension age before the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016. The scheme is expected to run for 18 months.
Class 3A will give pensioners an option to top up their pension by up to £25 a week in a way that will protect them from inflation and offer protection to surviving spouses. In particular, it could help women, and those who have been self-employed, who tend to have low additional State Pension entitlement.