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Have been trying to pay voluntary NI contributions for over a year, been told I can't backdate it and now I'm pg

(4 Posts)
Pesha Tue 11-Jan-11 16:14:37

I've been trying to pay voluntary class 2 NI contributions since I started working as a childminder in Sept 2009. They took it at first, then I got a refund with no explanation. Took me a few months to notice they weren't taking it anymore. Rang and asked why and got sent a direct debit form which I'm sure also had a form to request to make voluntary payments with it which I filled out. The direct debit was set up on my account so I forgot about it.

A few months later I realised they still weren't taking any so rang again. This time I was told they weren't taking it as I had an active employment support allowance claim. I'd claimed ESA in May after I was hospitalised and off sick for 2 weeks but wasn't eligible for it. So cancelled the claim and assumed they'd now start taking payments.

Several more months and they still weren't so I rang them again and was told I had a small earnings exemption and neede to put it in writing if I want to make voluntary payments. I did this and then had an answerphone message in Dec telling me they would start taking it from Jan but cannot backdate payments when a small earnings exemption has been in place. I rang and was told to put everything in writing which I am now doing.

Should point out that I have had some health problems this year along the lines of an MS/ME type of thing - chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, twitching and memory and organisation/concentration problems (this is what I was hospitalised for in May) which is why I've been so bad at chasing this up quicker. Had been struggling to cope with working full time and all the cming paperwork and my own dc. Every time I thought I'd dealt with it I ticked it off in my mind and forgot all about it.

Anyway I am now 15 weeks pg, have been really bad with hyperemisis, ended up in hospital on a drip at one point, and have lost all my mindees so am unemployed. If they are only taking payments from the start of Jan then there are only 25 weeks until my due date (30th June), if they are dating it from when I sent them the letter in early Dec then there are more than 26 weeks until my due date. If I'm not working I have been told I can still pay contributions as long as I can show I'm actively looking for work (which I will be but not many people want a part time, quite ill CM whos going to be starting mat leave in June, would be easier if I could make it till the end of the summer term but finishing mid term is a problem for people) so I will still be eligible. However I am now eligible to claim certain benefits and really need to, does anyone know if that will that make a difference? Can I pay NI contributions and claim IS at the same time?!

Also in the letter I am writing do I tell them I am now pg and that is why its so important that its backdated or could that somehow go against me? It should be clear I've been trying to pay for a long time beore I got pg and haven't just started now.

What are the chances they're atually going to let me make backdated payments? I really need the mat pay!

TIA and apologies for this being so long, I've never been any good at summing things up briefly! smile

Talkinpeace Tue 11-Jan-11 16:32:28

If you are claiming out of work benefits, then you will not get in work benefits.
And "actively looking for work" is not applicable to class 2 as it is a self employment NI.
Did you submit your 09/10 tax return to show that your business is still running?
Have a look here
www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/tech nical-guidance/ni17a-a-guide-to-maternity/maternit y-allowance-ma/
if you've not earned or paid enough then you get basic maternity benefits
have a look here
www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsT axCreditsAndOtherSupport/Expectingorbringingupchil dren/DG_10018869

Pesha Tue 11-Jan-11 17:08:40

Hi Talkinpeace, thanks for your reply.

So if I'm not actually working as a CM then I cannot pay NI? I will still be registered as a CM with Ofsted untill sept and be covered by my public liability etc but not actually earning anything. No one I've spoken to seems to have a clue what they are talking about and every time I ring I get told different information so not surprised if they've got this wrong too.

I thought I'd submitted my tax return months ago but have just received a reminder letter today so I guess I didn't confused Will dig out last year's accounts later and have a look, I know I definitely worked it all out and I told tax credits and I thought I did tax return too.

As far as I can tell if I haven't paid enough NI then I can still get MA but it will only be £27 a week, if I can pay the NI then I will get £125 a week so it makes a big difference.

Talkinpeace Tue 11-Jan-11 19:23:34

OK, best thought - get the tax return in ASAP.
Make your income assumptions UP and your expenses assumptions DOWN so that you have to pay some tax even £10 will set the switches right in their system - then reapply online and if poss go into your local tax office with your tax / NI statements - see if they can short circuit the system.

Call centre staff read the same website manuals I do so are a right PITA. I use old landline numbers to get hold of inspectors normally (slaps self on wrist)
but face to face staff should be able to help.

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