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State Pension

State Pension is a regular payment from the government based on your National Insurance (NI) contributions.

You can receive it when you reach State Pension age.

From December 2018, the State Pension age for both men and women started to gradually rise, reaching 66 by October 2020.

You can check your pension age by calling our Advice and Advocacy Service on freephone 0808 808 7575 or using the calculator at

How do I claim it?

You won’t receive your pension automatically – you need to claim it. You should receive a letter from the Northern Ireland Pension Centre around four months before you reach State Pension age telling you what to do next. If you still haven’t received it with three months to go, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

You don’t have to claim your State Pension straight away. You can postpone claiming it – known as ‘deferring’ – and possibly get a higher pension when you do. There are some benefits that might be affected if you defer so call our Advice and Advocacy Service on freephone 0808 808 7575 to find out the best option for you.

What am I claiming?

On 6 April 2016, the State Pension changed.

There are now two systems:

• The new State Pension will apply to you if you reached (or will reach) State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
• The basic State Pension will apply to you if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016

The new State Pension

Under the new system the full weekly amount will be given to people with at least 35 years National Insurance (NI) contributions or credits. It will be worth £185.15 per week, but you could get more or less than this depending on how many years of NI contributions you have.

Exactly how much will I get?

You must have been credited with NI contributions throughout your working years. The amount you will receive depends on the number of years of contributions. Under the new system you need at least 10 years contributions to qualify.

The basic State Pension

The full basic State Pension under the old rules is £141.85 a week for people with at least 30 years of NI contributions.

Exactly how much will I get?

You’ll get the full amount (£141.85 per week) if you’ve made NI contributions for 30 years or more. If you haven’t, you’ll get 1/30th of the full amount for each year of contributions. You can also pay voluntary contributions to cover any gaps while you weren’t working or getting tax credits. Under the old rules, you may be able to ‘top up’ your State Pension based on your spouse or civil partner’s contributions if they’re of pension age.

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 

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Last updated: Jan 16 2024

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