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The new State Pension

There were a number of changes made to the State Pension in 2016.

What is the new State Pension?

The new State Pension is a regular payment from the government that most people can claim in later life.

You can claim the new State Pension when you reach State Pension age if you have at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions and are:

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

If you were born before these dates you'll get the old State Pension instead.

When can I claim my new State Pension?

You can claim your State Pension up to 4 months before you reach State Pension age. However, it doesn't start being paid until you reach State Pension age.

If you claim your State Pension after you reach State Pension age, then you can request backdating of your State Pension. The maximum period of backdating is 12 months, but a claim can't be backdated to a date before you reached State Pension age. 

Check your State Pension age

Use the GOV.UK State Pension calculator to find out your State Pension age.

Can I claim my State Pension and keep working?

Yes, you can. However, here are some things you should bear in mind:

  • Any money you earn won’t affect your State Pension, but it may affect your entitlement to other benefits such as Pension CreditHousing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
  • Be aware that State Pension is taxable, so when added to your earnings it may put you into a higher tax band.
  • When you reach State Pension age, you won’t have to pay National Insurance anymore, even if you keep on working.

How much State Pension will I get?

The full rate of the new State Pension will be £221.20 per week in 2024-25 but you may get more or less, depending on your National Insurance (NI) record.

Find out how much State Pension you could get on GOV.UK

How is my pension amount worked out?

If you've already built up NI contributions under the pre-2016 system, you’ll be given a ‘starting amount’. This will be whichever's higher out of the following: 

  • the amount you would have received under the pre-2016 system, including basic and additional pension
  • the amount you would get if the new State Pension had been in place at the start of your working life.

If your 'starting amount' is more than the full amount of the new State Pension, then any amount over that level will be protected and paid on top of the full amount when you start to claim the new State Pension.

If your starting amount is less than the full amount of the new State Pension, then you may be able to build up a higher level of new State Pension through contributions and credits you make between 6 April 2016 and when you reach State Pension age.

So, your State Pension amount will be the higher starting amount figure plus the value of any qualifying years you had from 6 April 2016 onwards, up to the full rate of the new State Pension.

Check your State Pension forecast on GOV.UK

What happens if I was in a ‘contracted out’ scheme?

When working out the ‘starting amount’ for your State Pension, a deduction will be made from both calculations if you were in a ‘contracted out’ personal or workplace pension scheme – for example, if you were a member of a public sector pension.

The deduction is made because in this case, you'd normally have paid NI contributions at a lower rate because you were paying into a contracted out pension or because some of your NI contributions were paid towards your private pension instead of additional State Pension. 

What happens if I made no NI contributions before 6 April 2016?

If you made no NI contributions before April 2016, your State Pension is calculated entirely under new State Pension rules. You usually need at least 10 qualifying years in your NI record to get the new State Pension.

Your new State Pension is more likely to be calculated in this way if you were born after the year 2000 or became a resident of the UK after 2015.

If you have:

  • at least 35 years of NI contributions, then you may get the full amount
  • between 10 and 34 years of contributions, then you'll receive a proportion of the full amount
  • less than 10 years of NI contributions, then you aren’t usually eligible for the new State Pension.

Can I use my partner’s contributions?

The State Pension is based on your own contributions and in general you'll not be able to claim on your spouse or civil partner’s contributions at retirement, or if you're widowed or divorced. However, if you're widowed, you may be able to inherit part of your partner’s Additional State Pension that was already built up under the pre-2016 rules. 

If you're a woman who paid the reduced rate ‘married woman’s contributions’, you may be able to use these contributions towards the State Pension.

Get in touch with the Pension Service on GOV.UK

Can I increase my State Pension?

If you’re not on course to get a full State Pension, there may be some things you can do to help boost your pension.

If you don’t claim the State Pension straight away

You don’t have to claim your State Pension when you reach State Pension age. This is known as deferring, and could mean that you get extra State Pension when you do claim.

How much extra you get will depend on how long you defer claiming it. The State Pension increases by 1% for every 9 weeks you put off claiming it, or around 5.8% for each full year. This may not apply to you if you get certain benefits.

Find out more about deferring your pension on GOV.UK

If you’re a carer

If you’re a carer and don’t work, this could affect your NI record and impact your State Pension amount. If you care for someone at least 20 hours per week, you could get Carer’s Credit to help maintain your NI record.

You'll automatically receive Carer's Credit if you receive Carer's Allowance. But if you aren't eligible for Carer's Allowance, you could still get Carer's Credit. 

Find out more about Carer’s Credit on GOV.UK

If you live abroad or used to

If you live abroad or used to, you may have a gap in your NI record which could affect the amount of State Pension you’ll get.

You may be able to get a pension from the country you live in currently or used to live in – to find out, contact the department responsible for State Pensions in that country. If the country is in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, then the DWP may be able to help you contact them.

If you reach State Pension age after 6 April 2016, you might be able to use the time you worked abroad to make up some of the qualifying years that you need to get the new State Pension. But this depends on the country you lived in.

Find out more about the new State Pension if you've lived or worked overseas on GOV.UK

If you have gaps in your NI record

If you have gaps in your record and want to boost your State Pension, you could make voluntary NI contributions. How much these are and if you are eligible will depend on your individual circumstances.

Find out more about making voluntary NI contributions on GOV.UK

Try the pension calculator

MoneyHelper's pension calculator can help you work out how much money you'll need in retirement and how much you can expect.

How to claim my State Pension

You won’t normally receive your State Pension automatically. You should get an invitation letter from the Pension Service 4 months before you reach State Pension age, explaining how to claim your State Pension.

If you haven't received an invitation letter with 2 months to go, call the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898.

You can claim your pension online, over the phone or by post. You'll need to provide your National Insurance number when you make a claim and you may need to provide evidence of your date of birth.

Claiming online

You can claim your State Pension online on GOV.UK. The service is available 24/7 and is safe and secure. You can call the helpdesk on 0800 169 0154 if you have any difficulty using the service.

Claiming over the phone

To claim over the phone, call the Pension Service claim line on 0800 731 7898. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (except public holidays).

Claiming by post

You can also fill in a claim form and return it by post. You have to phone the Pension Service to get a State Pension claim form posted to you. Claiming by post takes the longest of all the methods. 

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Jun 13 2024

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