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Getting advice on the new State Pension

A new State Pension system was introduced on 6 April 2016. Here we explain the reforms, what has changed and share Age UK's view.

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?

When the new State Pension is fully introduced:

  • 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.

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

Who gets the new State Pension

How does the new State Pension affect current pensioners?

The old State Pension and benefit systems will continue for those who are already pensioners or who reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016. It's the date that you reach State Pension age that's important - not when you start to claim your pension.

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, the government has a scheme to allow you to top up your State Pension.

For more information on claiming the State Pension and how much you will get:

Age UK’s views on the new State Pension

Age UK supports the aim of a simpler, fairer State Pension that will particularly benefit those who have had low lifetime earnings due to low pay and caring responsibilities.

However, we are concerned that some people will lose entitlement to claim on their partner’s contributions and those with modest incomes could be worse off overall because they receive less help from means-tested benefits.

To maintain the value of the pension going forward there should be an ongoing commitment to uprate the State Pension in line with the ‘triple which increases its value in line with earnings, prices or 2.5% - whichever is higher.

There also needs to be good communication about the changes, e.g. people who have not yet reached State Pension age may not be aware that they could receive more or less than the full rate due to contributions made before 6 April 2016. In some cases people may be able to take action to increase their entitlement.

We remain concerned those who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 are not included and believe that where people would benefit, the Government should consider how they can be brought into the new system with no loss of current rights.

Further information about Age UK’s views and work

Age UK briefed MPs and Peers when the legislation to bring in the new State Pension was being considered by Parliament. Our concerns were highlighted, although no major changes were made to the original proposals.

Our Parliamentary briefings, policy papers and consultation responses are available online:

Further information

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For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081