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State pension

The State Pension is a benefit which is paid weekly to older people in the UK once they reach state pension age. Currently this age is 65 for both men and woman, and this will rise until it reaches 66 in October 2020 and 67 between 2026 and 2028.

The amount of State Pension you will receive will depend on the number of years in which you worked and paid National Insurance (NI) contributions, or claimed certain benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Carer's Allowance, for which you received National Insurance credits. 

You would've claimed the basic State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born before 6 April 1951
  • a woman born before 6 April 1953

If you were born later, you’ll need to claim the new State Pension instead.

To get the full basic State Pension you needed a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits. This means you were either:

  • working and paying National Insurance
  • getting National Insurance Credits, for example for unemployment, sickness or as a parent or carer
  • paying voluntary National Insurance contributions

If you had fewer than 30 qualifying years, your basic State Pension will be less than £129.20 per week. 

You may also have been eligible for Additional State Pension if you participated in the Second State Pension Scheme (SSPS) or State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). If so, this will be automatically added to your basic State Pension when you claimed it, and you won't need to make a separate claim.

A new State Pension system was introduced on 6 April 2016. Here we explain the reforms, and what has changed.

Why did we need a new State Pension?

The old State Pension system was complex, had high levels of means-testing and produced inequality – for example, women tended to have lower State Pensions than men.

The Government wanted to address these issues and the aim was to introduce a simpler, fairer system where people have a clearer idea about what the state will provide, making it easier to plan their retirement savings.

How is the new State Pension different?

  • it will have a single weekly amount (however, you may get more or less than the full amount, depending on your individual circumstances)
  • you need at least 35 years National Insurance (NI) contributions or credits to get the full amount
  • you need at least 10 years of contributions to qualify for the new State Pension
  • those who have between 10 and 34 years of contributions will receive a proportion of the pension
  • it will focus on individual entitlements, so in general there will be no special rules for people who are married or in civil partnerships, bereaved or divorced.
  • The full State Pension (2019/20) amount is £168.60 per week.

Who gets the new State Pension?

You will get the new State Pension if you are:

  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953
  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951

When you are eligible to receive your State Pension, you will receive a letter from the Pension Service to let you know that you are now able to claim it. You can then claim your pension in one of the following ways:-

Even if you aren't ready to retire and want to keep working, you can still claim your State Pension. However, you will also have the option to defer your pension claim which may mean you receive more money later. Find out more about deferring your State Pension.

Your State Pension will be paid directly into your bank or building society account once your claim has been processed.

If you don't have a bank or building society account, you can open a Post Office card account, which is a special account that's only for the receipt of benefit payments. You will then be able to withdraw your State Pension at any Post Office branch.

You can go to our Claiming all of your benefits page for information on how to get support in claiming all of the benefits to which you are entitled.

 

You can find out more about the State Pension, how it is calculated, and what you may be eligible to receive on the Gov UK website.

The Pensions Advisory Service website and telephone service offers comprehensive, free and impartial advice on your state pension.

The government's new PensionWise website offers information on all issues relating to occupational and private pensions.

The Money Advice Service website provides information on pensions and retirement.

The Which website offers advice on benefits options for older people.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can offer free and impartial advice on welfare benefits and debt, and will point you towards more specialist advice when appropriate:-