When can I claim it?
You can claim State Pension when you reach the qualifying age. This is now the same for all genders and is gradually increasing to reach 66 on 6th October 2020. Further increases are planned after this. The Gov.uk website can tell you when you’ll reach State Pension age.
Changes to the State Pension
Changes to the State Pension were introduced on 6 April 2016. The new system replaces basic and Additional State Pensions with one new 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 claiming certain benefits (such as unemployment benefits), or making voluntary NI contributions. The rules about how many years of NI contributions you need 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 between 6 April 2010 and 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. This won’t be available to you if you were self-employed.
Gov.uk has more information on what counts as a qualifying year.
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 (eg 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. You can find more information about contracting out on Gov.uk.
How much will I get?
If you qualified for the State Pension before 6 April 2016, the full basic State Pension is £129.20 a week.
If you qualify for the State Pension on or after 6 April 2016, the full new State Pension is £168.60 a week.
The exact rate you receive will depend on your National Insurance record. As long as you’re at least 30 days away from reaching State Pension age, you can get a personalised estimate of your State Pension. This will tell you how much you’re likely to get based on your current National Insurance record.
How to claim your State Pension
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).
There are four ways to claim:
- by calling the State Pension claim line on 0800 731 7898
- by filling in the State Pension claim form and sending it to your local pension centre – download this or request a form by phoning the claim line
- claim from abroad by contacting the International Pension Centre.
You can also defer claiming your State Pension. For each year you defer, your State Pension will be boosted by 5.8% under the new State Pension, or 10.4% under the old system.
For more information, read our factsheet The State Pension.
If you’ve reached State Pension age and your income is low, check if you could be getting Pension Credit.