What is the State Pension?
The State Pension is a regular payment that you can claim from the government once you reach Pension Age. You do not get it automatically, you must claim it.
The new State Pension was introduced in April 2016.You can get it if you are:
- a woman born on or after 6 April 1953
- a man born on or after 6 April 1951
If you born before then, the ‘‘old’ or ‘basic’ State Pension rules will apply. The information on this page is mainly about the ‘new’ State Pension.
Am I eligible for a State Pension?
If you have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions during your working life then you will be eligible for a State Pension.
You may be able to inherit some of your spouse or civil partner’s additional or protected payment. More details below.
New State Pension can be claimed when you reach pension age. To find out when you’ll reach pension age, use the Gov.UK State Pension calculator.
You can get a State Pension forecast and statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to find out how much State Pension you may get, the number of qualifying years on your National Insurance record and how to increase it, if you can.
Further increases to the pension age
The pension age is increasing for both men and women. Use the Gov.UK State Pension age calculator to find out when you’ll reach pension age. Currently, pension age is 66 years and increases to 67 years between April 2026 and April 2028.
How much State Pension may I receive?
How much you get depends on the amount of National Insurance contributions that you paid or have been credited with during your working life, called ‘qualifying years’.
You need at least 10 qualifying years to get any new State Pension and if you have 35 qualifying years you will get the full rate of £179.60 per week (April 2021 to April 2022 rates). There are ‘transitional’ rules which aim to ensure that anyone reaching pension age after 6 April 2016 when the new State Pension was introduced receive at least the same level of pension as they would have done under the ‘old’ retirement pension scheme.
National Insurance Credits
You make National Insurance contributions when working, but if you cannot work, you may be entitled to National Insurance credits for many reasons. For example, being unemployed, or if you can’t work because you are sick or disabled. Also some carers, parents, a family member caring for a child, foster carers, get certain benefits or a partner of someone in the armed forces and so on. More details on National Insurance credits from Gov.UK.
Inheriting Additional State Pension
If your spouse or civil partner reaches pension age or dies under pension age on or after 6 April 2016, you may be able to inherit Additional State Pension. There are also transitional rules that may allow you to use the contribution records of a spouse and so on under the pre April 2016 ‘old’ pension scheme. More details on inheriting Additional State Pension from Gov.UK.
Can I add to or increase my State Pension?
You may be able to ‘top up’ your state pension to increase the amount of money you will receive. There are a number of ways you can do this. For example, if there are gaps in your National Insurance contributions you may be able to make voluntary contributions and you can delay (defer) claiming your State Pension.
For more details visit The basic State Pension – Increase the amount you’ll get from Gov.UK.
Also, 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 no later than 2 months before you reach State Pension age, telling you how to claim. See below about deferring your pension.
Visit Gov.UK for more information on how to claim.
Deferring my pension
You can put off claiming your pension for as long as you want to in order to receive an increased pension. This may not apply if you get certain benefits. Visit Gov.UK for further information.
Will the changes to the State Pension affect my other benefits?
The age at which you can claim other benefits are also increasing with pension age such as Pension Credit.
Pensionwise is a service set up by the government to help you understand pensions. You can book an appointment with them to discuss your pension options.
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
- Age UK’s page on the State Pension
- 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.
- Pension tracing service use this service to trace a lost work or personal pension for you or someone else (with permission)
Last updated: September 13, 2021