If you're retiring soon, here's how to find out what you'll be entitled to from the new flat-rate pension.
State Pension changes
The rules around the State Pension changed dramatically on 6 April 2016.
The Government replaced the complicated basic State Pension with the new single-tier pension, which pays a flat rate for men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953.
However, the basic State Pension will carry on being paid to those that reached pension age before 6 April 2016.
For the purpose of this guide we focus on people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 and therefore eligible for the new State Pension.
If you want to find out more about the old system and how it differs, read: The Basic State Pension and new flat-rate State Pension explained.
How much new State Pension will I get?
The new State Pension pays a single flat rate of £155.65 a week.
To receive for the full amount, you will need to have qualifying 35 years of National Insurance (NI) contributions or Credits. You will receive a lower amount if you have less.
You will need at least 10 years’ contributions to get paid any new State Pension at all.
You can find out when you’ll receive your State Pension by checking your State Pension age with GOV.UK online and if you want a quick estimate about how much you’ll get, you can ask for a State Pension statement.
You can apply online but you will need a Government Gateway login in order to use the service. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the Future Pension Centre to get a statement by phone (0345 3000 168 - Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) or by filling in the BR19 form and sending it in the post to:
The Pension Service 9
Mail Handling Site A
You can get a State Pension statement if you are aged 16 or over and at least 30 days away from your State Pension age.
If you find you haven’t made enough contributions, you can choose to pay voluntary NI contributions to top them up.
You'll usually be sent a letter by HM Revenue & Customs if there are gaps in your history. For more on making additional voluntary contributions, read How to top up your State Pension.
You can find out if you have any gaps by requesting your NI record. This will tell you if you can pay voluntary contributions and how much it will cost.
You can request a National Insurance statement from the HMRC website, calling 0300 200 3500 (8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or in writing to:
National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
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SERPS/Second State Pension
You may also have paid into the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and/or the Additional, or Second, State Pension. SERPS was replaced by the Second State Pension in 2002.
The Second State Pension provides additional money to workers (based on National Insurance contributions), carers and people with a long-term disability or illness. If you meet one of those criteria, you will have contributed to your Second State Pension unless you ‘contracted out’ and paid into an occupational or private pension scheme instead.
The Second State Pension has been scrapped for those who reach State Pension age from 6 April 2016 and has been replaced by the single rate new State Pension.
However, you might get more than the full level of £155.65 a week if you’ve built up a certain amount of second state pension before this time. You could also receive less if you were contracted out before 6 April 2016.
For an estimate of your New State Pension and whether it will be more or less than £155.65, you need to request a State Pension statement from the Future Pension Centre as described above.
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Pension Credit is paid out to people who have a low retirement income. There are two elements – the Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
The Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly retirement income if it is less than £155.60 for single people or £237.55 for couples. Savings Credit is an additional element for people who have some savings.
This is currently worth up to £13.07 a week for single people and up to £14.75 for couples.
Savings Credit is being scrapped for those who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. However, you can may still get Savings Credit if you’re in a couple and one of you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and you were already receiving Savings Credit up to 6 April 2016.
Make sure you claim Pension Credit if you’re entitled – the Government estimates that one in three people that are entitled to it currently don’t.
If you think you might be eligible for Pension Credit, then you can get an estimate from GOV.UK’s Pension Credit calculator.
Note that if you’ve not reached the Pension Credit qualifying age, you should enter 1st January 1950 as your date of birth.
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