13th April 2016
Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon gives ten key facts about the state pension.
The State Pension is changing. If you reach State Pension Age after 5 April 2016 you will receive the New State Pension. The full amount is £155.65 per week (2016/17) and up until 2020 it’s guaranteed to increase by the highest of price inflation, earnings growth or 2.5%, known as the “triple lock”. But not everyone will get the full New State Pension as it depends on whether you’ve paid full rate National Insurance Contributions for 35 years. Due to complex transitional arrangements, some people may get an extra State Pension on top of the New State Pension.
To improve your retirement income think about starting or increasing your private pension contributions. Building up private pension savings can help to bridge the gap to the State Pension Age, so you can stop working earlier.
Ten Top Facts
By November 2018 State Pension Ages equalise at age 65 for men and women
By October 2020 State Pension Age increases to age 66
2. You have to claim your New State Pension, you won’t get it automatically
You will be sent a letter 4 months before your State Pension Age telling you how to claim your New State Pension
If you haven’t heard by 3 months before your State Pension Age, ring 0800 731 7898 or go online at https://www.gov.uk/claim-state-pension-online
3. Check your UK National Insurance Contributions record
You need 10 qualifying years to get any new State Pension
You need 35 years paying the full rate to get the full New State Pension
You can get a record of your National Insurance Contributions from HMRC
4. Ask for a New State Pension statement
If you are aged 50 or over you can request a New State Pension statement
Ring 0345 3000 168 or go online to the Gov.UK website
5. If you have gaps in your National Insurance Contributions record, think about paying voluntary National insurance Contributions to achieve the minimum of 10 qualifying years or to maximise your New State Pension. You need to do this before your State Pension Age.
National Insurance credits as a parent carer, for unemployment and sickness count towards the new State Pension
6. You may have been contracted out of the earnings related part of the previous State pension system if you’ve been in a workplace pension or saved in a personal pension, and paid lower National Insurance Contributions.
This means you won’t get the full New State Pension, but your private pension will be increased.
Most earnings related pension schemes, including public sector and local authority schemes were contracted out.
7. You can’t inherit your spouse’s or civil partner’s New State Pension. In some circumstances you may be able to inherit an extra State pension if you’re widowed.
8. If you get divorced you will still keep your New State Pension but you may lose or gain an extra State Pension.
9. You can increase your New State Pension if you defer payment by at least nine weeks.
Your State pension increases by 1% for every 9 weeks deferred. That’s 5.8% for a full year.
10. If you are self-employed you will also be entitled to the New State Pension based on your Class 2 National Insurance Contributions record.