State pension

State pension

Anyone who has been in employment and paid National Insurance Contributions (NICs) is entitled to a State Pension. 

You currently need 30 years’ worth of NICs to qualify for the full basic State Pension, which is currently worth £6,029.40 a year for a single person.

How much can I expect to get?

For those who’ve already reached retirement age, the full basic State Pension is currently £115.95 (2015/16) a week for a single person, which isn’t a lot. If you’re thinking of relying on the State Pension alone, then it’s important to realise it’s barely going to cover the basics.

However, you may also be entitled to various top-ups to the basic State Pension, including pension credit for people on a low income and the second state pension, previously known as the state earnings-related pension scheme (or SERPS).

Bear in mind that, from April 2016, the State Pension is changing. A simplified single State Pension will replace the current system of top-ups. Under the new system, everyone will, eventually, get the same amount, which will be worth around £7,700 for a single person – equivalent to the value of the basic State Pension and Pension Credit.

However, in reality there will be wide variations in the amounts that people receive. You’ll need 35 years of NICs to qualify for the full State Pension, higher than the current requirement. Get a State Pension forecast.

When will I receive it?

You won’t get your State Pension until you reach State Pension age. Remember, retirement age is not the same as State Pension age which is currently 65 for men and between 62 and 65 for women and is rising to an equalised 67 by 2028 (from which it will gradually rise further).Your State Pension age currently depends on when you were born and whether you’re male or female. The government has a calculator for working out your State Pension age. Work out your State Pension Age. There is no obligation to draw the state pension immediately. Indeed you will receive an enhanced payment if you delay taking it.

You can choose to defer taking your State Pension if you decide to work for longer. If you defer, currently, your pension will go up by 1% for every five weeks you defer. That works out at a little over 10% more for putting your pension on hold for a full year. This will change for those who reach the State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 when a 1% increase will be paid for each 9 weeks that you defer taking your State Pension. This works out at just under 5.8% for every full year you put off claiming.

You’ll receive a letter from The Pension Service a few months before you reach State Pension age with instructions on how to claim it or postpone. If you’d like an estimate sooner, you can also apply to the Future Pension Centre

Did you know?

Boost your retirement income and be better prepared

For most people, the State Pension won’t be enough to allow them to live comfortably in retirement – let alone to achieve any bigger retirement goals. That’s why the government is trying to encourage us to save more for our later years.

There are other key pension products you can invest in to supplement your State Pension(s).


  • Please be aware that tax rules can change and the value of tax relief will depend on your individual circumstances.
  • SIPPs are not for everyone. You need to have the necessary skills to invest your own pension fund as the value of investments can fluctuate and you could get back less than you invested.
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