When you can get State Pension

You can get your State Pension when you reach State Pension age. This now the same for all genders and is currently 66. There are plans to raise the State Pension age in the future.

Use Gov.uk to check your State Pension age.

Which State Pension you'll claim

Changes were introduced in 2016 to simplify the State Pension. There are currently two systems in place – the new State Pension and the basic State Pension. Which one you’ll claim depends on when you reach your State Pension age.

You can claim the new State Pension if you’re:

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

You can claim the basic State Pension if you’re:

  • a woman born before 6 April 1953
  • a man born before 6 April 1951.

Even if you choose to delay (defer) your State Pension, you’ll still get it under the system you qualify for when you do choose to start claiming it.

How your State Pension is calculated

Both State Pension systems are based on your National Insurance (NI) contributions, or sometimes on your partner’s NI contributions. You might have got these by:

  • paying NI while working
  • claiming NI credits while claiming certain benefits, such as while unemployed or caring for someone
  • making voluntary NI contributions. 

You’ll need NI contributions for a certain number of qualifying years to get a State Pension. How many depends on whether you’d claim the basic State Pension or the new State Pension. Read Gov.uk for more on what counts as a qualifying year.

As long as you’re at least 30 days away from reaching State Pension age, you can get a personalised State Pension forecast. This will tell you how much you’re likely to get based on your current National Insurance record.

The new State Pension

You can get the new State Pension if you reach your State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. This means you’re:

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

The full rate for new State Pension is £185.15 a week for 2022/23. But the amount you get could be more or less than this.

  • You need 35 qualifying years or more of NI contributions to get a full new State Pension.
  • If you’ve got between 10 and 35 qualifying years, you’ll get part of the full rate. This is 1/35th for each qualifying year you have. So, if you have 20 years, for example, you’d get 20/35ths of the full rate.
  • If you’ve got under 10 years, you usually won’t get any State Pension.

You won’t get any Additional State Pension under the new State Pension rules. You also won’t be able to claim on your spouse or civil partner’s NI contributions. However, there may be exceptions if you’re widowed or divorced.

If you were contracted out of Additional State Pension during your working life – for example, you paid into certain workplace pensions instead – the amount you get under the new State Pension will be reduced. Contact the Pension Service for advice.

If you don’t have enough years to get the full new State Pension, you may be able to pay voluntary NI contributions to increase how much you get. Or you might be able to claim Pension Credit if your income is low.

The basic State Pension

You can get the basic State Pension if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. This means you’re:

  • a woman born before 6 April 1953
  • a man born before 6 April 1951.

The full rate for basic State Pension is £141.85 a week for 2022/23. But the exact amount you’d get could be more or less than this.

  • You need 30 qualifying years of NI contributions to get a full basic State Pension. 
  • If you have less than this, you’ll get a reduced basic Pension rate. This is 1/30th for each qualifying year you do have. So, if you had 20 qualifying years of NI contributions, you’d get 20/30ths of the full pension amount.
  • You’ll usually need at least one year to get any basic State Pension.

If you qualify for Additional State Pension, it’ll be automatically added to your basic State Pension – unless you were contracted out.

You might be able to ‘top up’ your pension by using your spouse or civil partner’s NI contributions, if you’re not able to get a basic State Pension. You won’t be able to do this if you were self-employed.

How to claim your State Pension

You need to make a claim for your pension – you won’t get it automatically.

You should be contacted about four months before you reach State Pension age. If you haven’t been contacted by two months before, contact the Pension Service.
There are four ways to claim:

  • online
  • by calling the State Pension claim line on 0800 731 7898
  • by post – send a completed State Pension claim form to your local pension centre. Download a form to print at home or request one by calling the claim line
  • claim from abroad by contacting the International Pension Centre.

Delaying your State Pension
You can also delay (defer) claiming your State Pension. For each year you delay, your State Pension will be boosted by around 5% under the new State Pension, or around 10% under the basic State Pension.  

You can delay for at least 9 weeks with the new State Pension and at least 5 weeks under with basic State Pension.

Underpaid State Pensions

If you qualify for basic State Pension and can claim State Pension ‘top-ups’, they’re usually calculated for you. However, some people – particularly women who paid reduced NI rates – may have had their State Pension miscalculated and underpaid.

If you think you’re affected by this, contact the Pension Service to ask them to recalculate your State Pension. You can do this whether you’re claiming or delaying your State Pension.

Next steps

For more information, read our miniguide, The State Pension. Our factsheet Understanding Your State Pension also has more examples of how your State Pension is worked out.

If you’ve reached State Pension age and your income is low, check if you could be getting Pension Credit

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