State Pension – Guide To The State Pension

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State Pension Overview

1 What is the State Pension Age?

The State Pension age is the earliest you can claim your State Pension. Your State Pension age depends on when you were born.

There are some changes to the State Pension age at the moment. For people reaching State Pension age now, it will be age 66 for women and men.

For those born after 5 April 1960, there will be a phased increase in State Pension age to 67, and eventually 68.

2 How Much State Pension Do You Get?

The full level of the State Pension is £221.20 a week in the 2024/25 tax year, which produces an annual income of £11,502.40.

The amount you get might be lower, as your entitlement to State Pension depends on your National Insurance record. You need a minimum of ten years’ contributions or credits to get any State Pension, and at least 35 years on your record to get the full amount.

In some cases, the amount you get might be higher. If your State Pension is more than £221.20 a week, you’ll have a ‘protected amount’, which is usually because you built up an entitlement to Additional State Pension under the old system.

3 How is the State Pension Paid?

It’s usually paid every four weeks in arrears. State Pension is taxable but paid before any tax is taken.

This means that although tax isn’t deducted from the State Pension, it will use up some of your tax-free personal allowance.

In 2024/25, the standard tax-free personal allowance is £12,570. This means that if you receive the full new State Pension, you’ll have £12,570 – £11,502.40 = £1,067.60 of your personal allowance remaining for other taxable income. Examples of other taxable income include from employment or a personal or occupational pension.

4 Does it Increase Once in Payment?

The State Pension is increased at the start of each tax year – on 6 April – usually by the higher of:

  • the average percentage increase in prices (as measured by the Consumer Price Index for September the year before),
  • the average increase in wages (measured in July the previous year)
  • 2.5%.

This is often referred to as “the triple lock”.

If your State Pension includes any Additional State Pension, this will always be increased in line with the average increase in prices (as measured by the Consumer Price Index).

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5 How Do You Qualify For it?

For anyone reaching State Pension age after 6 April 2016, you need to have at least ten years’ National Insurance contributions or credits to qualify to claim your State Pension. You need to have paid or been credited with at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions to receive the full State Pension amount.

Each year gives 1/35th of the full amount, for example:

  • 35 years’ gives 35/35 x £221.20 = £221.20 a week
  • 30 years’ gives 30/35 x £221.20 = £189.60 a week
  • 10 years’ gives 10/35 x £221.20 = £63.20 a week.

You will need more than 35 years if you were contracted out of the Additional State Pension.

The State Pension is different from Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is a means-tested State benefit. It tops your income up to £218.15 a week for a single person or £332.95 for a couple, where it’s below these figures (2024/25 rates).

6 How Can I Check My Entitlement?

As well as checking your State Pension age, you can check your entitlement by getting a State Pension forecast.

A State Pension forecast can tell you:

  • how much State Pension you could get
  • when you can get it
  • how to increase it, if you can.

The forecast assumes you make, or are credited with, the maximum number of National Insurance contributions in the years up to your State Pension age.

You can check the level of your State Pension entitlement in various ways:

7 How Can I Claim My State Pension

You will not get your new State Pension automatically – you have to claim it here.

You’ll need:

  • the date of your most recent marriage, civil partnership or divorce
  • the dates of any time spent living or working abroad
  • your bank or building society details

If you’re applying online, you’ll also need the invitation code from the letter about getting your State Pension.

If you have not received an invitation letter but you are within 3 months of reaching your State Pension age, you can request an invitation code.

8 When I’ve Claimed My State Pension When Will I Receive it?

Your first payment will usually be within five weeks of reaching State Pension age and will cover the period from when you reached State Pension age. You’ll usually get a full payment every four weeks after that.

The day your State Pension is paid depends on the last two digits of your National Insurance number.

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