The basic State Pension is paid by the government when you reach State Pension age. The amount you receive, the maximum is £115.95* per week, is based on the number of National Insurance (NI) contributions made during your working life — i.e. ‘Qualifying Years’. The State Pension increases automatically by at least 2.5% a year.
If you carry on working after claiming your State Pension, your earnings will not affect how much State Pension you get. But if you get an increase for a dependant, their earnings may affect how much increase you get for them.
The State Pension age varies
- For men born before 6 December 1953, the current State Pension Age is 65
- For women born before 6 April 1950, the current State Pension Age is 60
- For women born on or after 6 April 1950 but before 6 December 1953, their State Pension Age is between 60 and 65
The State Pension Age will increase again to 66 between November 2018 and October 2020 which means that for men and women born on or after 6 December 1953 but before 6 October 1954, their State Pension Age is between 65 and 66.
Between April 2026 and April 2028 the State Pension Age will again increase to 67 and then again between April 2044 and April 2046 to 68.
Since it is intended that the State Pension Age will better reflect changes in life expectancy, it could well mean that the above timetables may be revised.
If you are a married woman and cannot get a full basic State Pension because you do not have enough qualifying years based on your own National Insurance (NI) contributions, you may be able to get a State Pension based on your husband’s NI contributions. You can only do this if he is already getting a basic State Pension and you are aged 60 or over.
If you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, you may be able to get a basic State Pension based on your late husband’s, wife’s or civil partner’s NI contributions.
If you are divorced, or your civil partnership has been dissolved and you cannot get a full basic State Pension based on the qualifying years from your own NI contributions, you may be able to get a basic State Pension based on your former husband’s, wife’s or civil partner’s NI contributions. They do not need to be getting their State Pension.
If you put off claiming your State Pension for at least five weeks when you reach State Pension age, you can earn extra State Pension. The weekly amount of your State Pension will be higher, but you will not get any State Pension for the weeks you put off claiming.
Additional State Pension
The government also provides an Additional State Pension which is paid on top of the basic State Pension. This used to be called the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) but was changed to the State Second Pension in April 2002, the new scheme being more generous for low and moderate earners, certain carers and people with a long-term illness or disability. The State Second Pension is referred to as the Additional State Pension.
A SERPS pension, a State Second Pension and an Additional State Pension can be inherited by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, the amount being dependent on the date of birth of the person who has died, subject to a maximum total amount when combined with a person’s own additional pension.
Since 6 April 2012, contracting out has only been possible if you contracted out through an occupational salary-related (defined-benefit) scheme, although this will also be reviewed in the future. If you were contracted out through a money-purchase (defined-contribution) occupational pension scheme or a personal or stakeholder pension then on 6 April 2012 you would have automatically been brought back into the additional State Pension.
* Tax year 2015 / 2016
INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM TAXATION, ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.