State Pension (before 2016)
What is the (old) State Pension?
The State Pension is a regular payment from the Government based on your previous National Insurance contributions.
There are two different systems for claiming State Pension. The information on this page applies if you reached State Pension age on or before 5 April 2016, that is, if you are:
- a woman born on or before 5 April 1953
- a man born on or before 5 April 1951
It’s the date that you reach State Pension age that’s important, not when you start to claim it.
If you were born after the above dates and therefore reach State Pension age after 5 April 2016, the new State Pension rules will apply to you.
The old State Pension includes two parts:
- A Basic State Pension based on your previous National Insurance contributions
- An Additional State Pension also based on your National Insurance contributions, but this takes into account your earnings and whether you claimed benefits too.
Can I claim the State Pension?
You can claim the full Basic State Pension if:
- you reached State Pension age on or before 5 April 2016 (see above for full details)
- you have 30 years of National Insurance contributions. This includes contributions that you made when you were working, and contributions that were credited to you if you were unable to work - for example, if you were caring for a child or disabled person, or claiming certain benefits.
If you have fewer than 30 years of contributions, you’ll get 1/30 of the full State Pension amount for each year of contributions.
If you’re eligible to claim a Basic State Pension, you may also be able to claim an Additional State Pension. How much you get will depend:
- your earnings
- whether you claimed certain benefits
Can I claim State Pension and carry on working?
Yes, you can, but 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 Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
- Be aware too 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.
When can I claim my pension?
The earliest you can get the basic State Pension is when you reach State Pension age.
How much State Pension will I get?
- The full Basic State Pension is currently £122.30 a week for people who have 30 years of National Insurance contributions.
- If you have fewer than 30 years of contributions, you’ll get 1/30 of the full State Pension amount for each year of contributions.
- As well as the Basic State Pension, you may get Additional State Pension. This is also based on your National Insurance contributions. How much you get depends on your earnings and whether you claimed certain benefits.
How can I increase my State Pension?
If you don’t get a full State Pension, you may be able to boost your pension:
- By making additional payments
You can choose to pay voluntary contributions to cover any gaps when you weren’t working or getting credits – contact the National Insurance helpline on 0300 200 3500 for more information.
- By using your partner’s NI record
You may be able to claim a pension based on the contributions of your current or former spouse or civil partner.
- By deferring your State Pension
You can postpone claiming your State Pension, known as ‘deferring’, and get a higher pension or a lump sum when you do claim. If you’re claiming certain benefits, they may be affected if you defer.
How do I claim my State Pension?
You won’t normally receive your State Pension automatically when you reach pension age. You need to make a claim. Here’s what you need to do:
Step one: You should get a letter and booklet from the Pension Service about four months before you reach the State Pension age. If you don’t, call the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898.
Step two: You can claim your pension online, over the phone or by post. You will need to provide your National Insurance number when you make a claim and you may need to provide evidence of your date of birth.
You can claim your State Pension online anytime as it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is safe and secure and there is an online helpdesk on 0345 604 3349 (textphone: 0345 604 0523) to help you through the process if you have any difficulty.
To claim over the phone call the Pension Service claim line on 0800 731 7898 or textphone: 0800 731 7339. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (except public holidays)
You can also claim by form. You can download the forms from GOV.UK