What is the State Pension?
The State Pension is a regular payment that you can claim from the government once you reach Pension Age.
The new State Pension was introduced in April 2016.This will affect people who reach State Pension age on or after this date. This will affect you if you are:
- a woman born on or after 6 April 1953
- a man born on or after 6 April 1951
If you reached State Pension age before the 6th April 2016, the current State Pension system will continue.
Am I eligible for a State Pension?
If you have paid enough National Insurance contributions during your working life then you will be eligible for a State Pension.
Currently the age at which you can claim your State Pension is
- For women born on or after 6th April 1950 it is being increased from 60 to 65 years
- For men it is staying at 65 years
The State Pension is based on your own contributions and in general you will not be able to claim on your spouse or civil partner’s contributions at retirement or if you are widowed or divorced.
However, if you’re widowed you may be able to inherit part of your partner’s additional State Pension already built up.
You can get a state pension statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to find out how much state pension you may get, and the number of qualifying years on your National Insurance record
Further increases to the Pension Age
The Pension Age will be increased further over the next few years for both men and women
- to 66 years of age in 2018 – 2020
- to 67 years of age in 2026
- to 68 years of age in 2044 – 2046
- These changes affect women born on or after 6 April 1953 and men born on or after 6 December 1953
Use Gov.uk’s State Pension calculator to find out when you’ll reach Pension Age.
Can I still receive a state pension if I am a carer?
Carer’s Credit was introduced in 2010. It is a National Insurance credit which helps carers to build up qualifying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension. For further information, visit gov.uk.
Grandparents who are looking after their grandchildren can now claim up to £2,300 extra towards their state pension from 1st October 2020.
How much State Pension may I receive?
This depends on the amount of National Insurance Contributions that you have paid during your working life.
The New State Pension is a flat-rate of £179.58 per week. You will receive this full amount if you have at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions or credits.
To qualify for any new State Pension, you will need at least 10 years of contributions. If you have between 10 and 34 years of contributions you will receive a proportion of the pension.
Visit Get to know your state pension by DWP
National Insurance Credit
If you have not always worked, you may still be entitled to National Insurance credits. For example, if you have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, or if you can’t work because you are sick or disabled, or if you get Carer’s Allowance.
Divorced or widowed people may be able to use their former spouse’s record to get a pension, or to increase their pension.
If you are the spouse or civil partner of someone who served with the armed forces and you went with them on an overseas posting, you might also be able to fill gaps in your National Insurance record. You can apply for these National Insurance credits if:
- you are or were married to or the civil partner of a member of the armed forces
- you went with them on an overseas posting after 6 April 1975
- you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016
Visit Gov.uk for more information
Additional State Pension
The Additional State Pension was an extra amount of money you could get with your basic State Pension. It’s based on your National Insurance contributions.
You won’t receive any Additional State Pension if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. Instead, you’ll get the new State Pension.
Can I add to my State Pension?
You may be able to ‘top up’ your state pension to increase the amount of money you will receive. To do this you must be:
- a man born before 6 April 1951
- a woman born before 6 April 1953
You’ll need to make a lump sum payment between 12 October 2015 and 5 April 2017.
Visit State Pension top up calculator for more information.
A pension statement can be helpful as it will tell you whether you have paid enough National Insurance contributions to get a full state pension.
Visit gov.uk to get a pension statement.
How do I claim my State Pension?
You should get a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions 4 months before you reach State Pension age, telling you how to claim.
Visit gov.uk for more information on how to claim.
Deferring my pension
You can put off drawing your pension for as long as you want to in order to receive a lump sum or an increased pension. Visit www.gov.uk for further information.
Will the changes to the State Pension effect my other benefits?
Other benefits are increasing with pension age such as Pension Credit.
Pensionwise is a service set up by the government to help you understand about pensions. You can book an appointment with them to discuss your pension options either over the telephone or face to face.
Where can I get benefits advice?
It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help you such as;
- Citizens Advice Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service – have self help material on their website.
- Search Newcastle give benefits advice to older people in the West of Newcastle
Visit newcastle.gov.uk for more benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
Other Useful Information
- New State Pension – Age UK’s factsheet
- Money Advice Service provides online information on the full range of benefits that you may be entitled to.
- Pension Wise is a free government service that helps you understand your new pension options.
- Simple Payment Service was introduced as cheques are no longer used to pay state benefits and Pension credit.
- Over 50’s Money Saving Tips – A helpful article that includes a section on pensions and retirement.
Last updated: April 15, 2021