Rules on claiming a state pension changed in the UK in April 2016, affecting the amount of money you will receive.
Those who are eligible can start claiming their state pension once they have reached state pension age, which is calculated based on your gender and date of birth.
Here’s everything you need to know about the rules and how to claim.
Who is eligible and how much money can you get?
On 6 April 2016, the state pension rules changed for men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953.
Those who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 will claim their pension under the old rules instead.
Under the changes, people can no longer build up an additional state pension and are not able to ‘contract out’ of it if you get a higher private pension.
The full new state pension grants claimants £175.20 per week, although the actual amount you receive is dependent on your National Insurance record.
Typically, you will need to have 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get a new state pension.
Some claimants may receive more than the full state pension if they have over a certain amount of additional state pension under the old rules.
If you do not have a National Insurance record before 6 April 2016, you will need 35 qualifying years to get the new full state pension.
To find out how much you could receive and when, you can check your current state pension forecast on the Gov.uk website.
How is the new state pension calculated?
The full new state pension amounts to £175.20 per week, with claimants’ National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 used to calculate the ‘starting amount’.
The starting amount will be the higher of either:
- the amount you would get under the old state pension rules (which includes basic state pension and additional state pension)
- the amount you would get if the new State Pension had been in place at the start of your working life
The starting amount will include a deduction if you were contracted out of the additional state pension, which may have been because you were in a certain type of workplace, personal or stakeholder pension.
The new state pension also increases annually by whichever of the following is highest:
- earnings – the average percentage growth in wages (in Great Britain)
- prices – the percentage growth in prices in the UK as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
If you have a protected payment, it increases each year in line with the CPI.
How do I claim it?
If you are eligible to receive the new state pension, you will need to claim it as it is not issued automatically.
A letter should be sent to you no later than two months before you reach state pension age which informs you how to apply.
If you have not received an invitation letter, but you are within four months of reaching state pension age, you can still make a claim.
However, the quickest way to receive it is to apply online. To do this you will need:
- the date of your most recent marriage, civil partnership or divorce
- the dates of any time spent living or working abroad
- your personal or joint bank or building society details