Workers whose employment has terminated or who have been made redundant may opt to pay in voluntary contributions to fulfil insurance and contribution requirements so as to reach pension entitlement and to increase the pension payout amount, provided that all contribution requirements are fulfilled.
Voluntary contributions can be used to reach entitlement and to generate all direct pensions (old-age pension, seniority pension, ordinary invalidity allowance and incapacity pension) and indirect pensions (survivors' pension and reversible pension).
Voluntary contributions can be paid in by workers whose employment has been terminated or who have been made redundant and also by workers enrolled on the Pension Scheme for the Self-Employed and Independent Contractors.
Voluntary contributions can be used to cover periods when the worker:
- does not undertake any work as a dependent worker or as a self-employed worker (including para-subordinate work);
- has asked for short periods of unpaid leave from work for family or study reasons;
- is on a horizontal or vertical part-time employment contract.
The following workers may claim authorisation to make voluntary contribution payments:
- dependent workers and self-employed workers, provided they are not registered with the INPS or enrolled on other social security schemes;
- para-subordinate workers, provided they are not enrolled on the Pension Scheme for the Self-Employed and Independent Contractors or on other compulsory social security schemes;
- self-employed individuals, provided they are not enrolled on their specific social security fund or on other compulsory social security schemes;
- workers under special social security funds (funds for telephone workers, electricity workers, flight crew, etc.), provided they are not enrolled on specific sector funds or on other compulsory social security schemes;
- holders of the ordinary disability allowance or of an indirect pension (survivors' pension or revertible pension).
Authorisation to make voluntary contribution payments will only be granted when the worker's employment giving rise to the obligation to pay insurance contributions has been terminated or has resulted in redundancy.
Authorisation granted will never lapse and if voluntary payments are discontinued, they can be resumed at any time without having to submit a new claim.
In the event that they resume employment, insurance policy holders authorised to continue to make voluntary contributions may ask for the contribution to be re-calculated based on the wages or income received as a result of this new employment within 180 days of termination of said employment.
Voluntary contributions paid in for the worker themselves or for dependent family members may be listed under 'deductible expenses' in the tax return form (UNICO form or form 730), with a reduction on the total income used to calculate tax owed.
Authorisation for voluntary payments may be also granted when employment (be it for an employer or as a self-employed worker) has not terminated, in the event of:
- suspension from work, including for short periods, if these periods are comparable to redundancy or termination of employment (such as leave from work for family reasons, for example);
- suspension from work or redundancy as provided for by regulatory standards or contractual provisions after 31 December 1996 (study leave, leave for serious, substantiated family circumstances, unpaid leave for personal reasons or illness, strike, redundancy for military service with sustaining of employment, etc.) instead of the option to redeem periods pursuant to Article 5 of Legislative Decree No 564 of 8 September 1996;
- work undertaken on a part-time employment contract, if this work covers or is in addition to periods of work undertaken on short time;
- supplement to payments for work undertaken in the agricultural sector, with less than a total of 270 days of effective and imputed contributions registered over the course of the year.
The following workers can also pay voluntary contributions:
- workers and pensioners enrolled on social security schemes other than the INPS schemes, authorised before 1 July 1972;
- farmers who cultivate their own land, tenant farmers and sharecroppers on the Compulsory General Insurance Scheme, authorised prior to 19 February 1983;
- artisans and traders business owners on the Compulsory General Insurance Scheme, granted authorisation that came into effect before 1 March 1983;
- self-employed individuals on the Compulsory General Insurance Scheme, granted authorisation that came into effect before 19 February 1983.
To be granted authorisation, workers must demonstrate that they have paid in at least five years of contributions (260 weekly contributions, or 60 monthly contributions), regardless of the time period in which these contributions were made, or at least three years of contributions in the five years prior to the claim submission date. Time-related requirements to be granted authorisation must be fulfilled by means of effective (compulsory) contributions, merged with the worker's insurance account by transfer, pension aggregation and redemption and certain types of imputed contributions (wage compensation funds [CIG], TB allowances, leave from work for political or union reasons).
For dependent workers, authorisation for voluntary continuation of contributions will be granted as of the first Saturday after submission of the claim. For self-employed workers (artisans and traders business owners), authorisation will be granted from the first day of the month following submission of the claim.
If the claim is submitted prior to termination of the employment contract or termination of work as a self-employed worker, authorisation will be granted respectively as of the first Saturday after termination of the employment contract or as of the first day of the month after removal from the lists for artisans and traders business owners.
Voluntary payments may be made for periods that fall within the six months prior to the claim submission date, provided these periods have not already been covered by another contribution.
Voluntary contributions can be paid by accessing the 'Voluntary Payments' service in the INPS payment portal using one of the following methods:
- MAV payment slips sent by the INPS by post, or generated by the user. The payment slip can be viewed, edited, printed or paid at any credit institution, free of charge, or at a post office branch, where a payment fee will apply;
- Online using the 'pagoPA immediate payment' method, whereby users can pay contributions by credit, debit or pre-paid card, or via debit on their current account;
- pagoPA payment notice, whereby users can pay contributions at any payment service provider (PSP) that is part of the 'pagoPA' network.
Alternatively, contributions can be paid via Lottomatica at tobacco shops that display the 'INPS Services' logo and that are part of the 'Reti Amiche' network. The individual concerned must provide their Italian tax code and authorisation/procedure code.
Receipts for payments made online, with MAV payment slips, the pagoPA system or via the 'Reti Amiche' (Lottomatica) network can also be viewed and printed using the online service.
Payments can also be made for periods of less than three months by paying a reduced amount. In cases like these, if payment is made over the phone or using the online service, the user will need to edit their information and create a new MAV payment slip.
Payment of voluntary contributions for periods in arrears (periods that fall between the date that the authorisation came into effect and the quarter prior to the one corresponding to the first pre-printed MAV payment slip) must be made within the quarter after the one in which the approval notice of the claim was received.
Payment of voluntary contributions for current periods (four quarters each year) must be made within the following quarter after the one in question. For example, to cover the first quarter (January-February-March), payment must be made no later than 30 June.
Voluntary contributions to cover periods for which no contributions were made and that fall within the six-month period prior to the date on which the authorisation came into effect must be paid using the same procedures stipulated for payment of periods in arrears and at the same time.
Payments made after these cut-off dates will be considered null and void and may be refunded.
The contribution amount for dependent workers is a weekly amount calculated on the basis of the last 52 weeks of compulsory contributions, even if these are not situated time-wise in the year immediately prior to the claim submission date.
The contribution amount for self-employed workers (artisans and traders business owners) is a monthly amount calculated on the basis of average entrepreneurial income declared for personal income tax (IRPEF) purposes in the last 36 months of contributions prior to the claim submission date.
For farmers who cultivate their own land, the contribution amount is a weekly amount calculated on the basis of the average income received in the last three years of work. The contribution amount cannot be less than the amount stipulated for dependent workers.
Claims for voluntary contribution payments must be submitted online to the INPS using the appropriate service.
Alternatively, requests can be made through:
- the contact centre on 803 164 (free for landline calls from Italy) or on +39 06 164 164 from mobile phones;
- aid offices and intermediaries of the institute, using the electronic services that these provide.
Contributions paid in, at no cost to the worker, for periods in which the interested party may be obliged to stop working for a variety of reasons (pregnancy, illness, unemployment). These contributions can be used both to reach pension entitlement and to increase the pension payout amount.