When can I claim it?

You can claim State Pension when you reach the official State Pension age.

The State Pension age is gradually increasing and will depend on your date of birth. Check when you’ll reach State Pension age on Gov.uk.

State Pension age is currently 65 for men. It is gradually rising for women and will reach 65 by November 2018.

The new State Pension

Changes to the State Pension were introduced on 6 April 2016. The new system is designed to be simpler, replacing basic and additional pensions with a new single-tier pension.

The new State Pension rules only apply to people who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. If you reached State Pension age before that, you will be claiming under the old system (basic and additional State Pension), even if you deferred your claim.

Who can claim the State Pension?

Your eligibility for the State Pension is based on National Insurance (NI) contributions. You might have gained these by paying NI while working, claiming NI credits while unemployed, or caring, or making voluntary NI contributions. The rules depend on whether you’re eligible for the basic State Pension or the new State Pension.

The basic State Pension (if you reached State Pension age on or before 5 April 2016)

  • you need 30 qualifying years of NI contributions to get a full basic State Pension. If you have fewer than this, you’ll get 1/30th of the full basic Pension for each qualifying year.
  • if you’re not eligible for a full State Pension, you might be able to claim additional pension by using your spouse or civil partner’s NI contributions.
  • you can claim up to £25 a week from the State Pension top up scheme

The new State Pension (if you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016)

  • you need 35 or more qualifying years of NI contributions to get a full State Pension. If you’ve got between 10 and 35 qualifying years, you’ll get a proportion of the full State Pension. If you’ve got under 10 years, you usually won’t get anything.
  • you won’t be able to claim from your spouse or civil partner’s NI contributions anymore. If you are widowed or divorced there may be exceptions
  • if you were ‘contracted out’ of Additional State Pension during your working life (e.g. if 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.

How much is it worth?

If you qualified for State Pension before 6 April 2016, the full basic State Pension is £122.30 a week.

If you qualify for State Pension on or after 6 April 2016, the full new State Pension is £159.55 a week.

The exact rate you receive will depend on your National Insurance record. If you’re over 55, you can get a personalised estimate of your State Pension: gov.uk/check-state-pension.

Next steps

You need to make a claim for your pension – you won’t receive it automatically. You should be contacted about this four months before you reach State Pension age. If you haven’t been contacted three months before, ring the State Pension claim line 0800 731 7898.

For more information about pensions go to:

The basic State Pension
https://www.gov.uk/state-pension

The new State Pension
https://www.gov.uk/new-state-pension

The Additional State Pension
https://www.gov.uk/additional-state-pension

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