The State Pension gives you a regular income for the rest of your life. You can claim it when you reach State Pension age. However, you need to have paid enough National Insurance contributions in order to be paid the full State Pension.

Your State Pension age is the earliest age you can start receiving your State Pension. It may be different to the age you can get a workplace or personal pension.

The State Pension age used to be 60 for a woman and 65 for a man. However, this is changing and the age at which you can claim your State Pension is gradually increasing.

You can work out the exact date when you will reach State Pension age by following this link.

You need to have paid enough National Insurance contributions in order to be paid the State Pension. If you are ill or unemployed you may not be able to pay National Insurance. But in many cases the Government makes your contribution by giving you credits.

To check how much State Pension you may have built up to date and when you can claim it, use the State Pension Calculator.

The total amount of pension you receive will depend on the level of your National Insurance Contributions, when you made them and the amount you were earning at the time.

The State Pension scheme changed on 6 April 2016. 

You are entitled to the New State Pension if you are:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

If you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, you may be entitled to the Basic State Pension.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the new flat-rate pension will in particular benefit women, carers, lower earners and the self-employed.

Claiming State Pension

It is important that you claim your State Pension. You will not receive it automatically on reaching State Pension Age. The Pension Service will normally contact you four months before reaching your pension age, but if you have not been contacted by three months before you are due to reach pension age call the State Pension claim line on 0800 731 7898 (8.00 am to 8.00 pm).

Alternatively you can download the State Pension claim form or you can apply on-line.

Additional Information

More information on the State Pension is available at:

Income Tax

When you reach retirement age you will stop paying National Insurance. However, if your total income from work, private pensions and the State Pension is more than your tax-free allowance you will have to pay Income Tax.

For full details of Income Tax and National Insurance after retirement age go to this link.

Pension Top up

The State Pension top up scheme has now closed. You can’t apply for the scheme or make anymore payments.

Benefits in Retirement

For a list of other benefits that you could potentially claim and how to find out if you’re eligible is available at this link.

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