I am self employed. I have not paid into the social security system in many years. I think since 1997. There were about two years in between that I paid but no more. My question is can I pay in to bring them up to current where they should be??
The only past years for which you could now report self-employment earnings and have them credited to your Social Security record are 2016, 2017, and 2018. Years prior to that are barred from correction by the Statute of Limitations unless an exception is involved (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0302201008).
Furthermore, you can't voluntarily pay self-employment taxes in order to get Social Security credits, so you could only get credit if you had an actual net profit from your trade or business. If you did have a profit in any of the last 3 years you would need to file a tax return, or amended return and pay the appropriate self-employment taxes in order to get the earnings credited to your Social Security record.