The state pension – how much will you get?

The new State Pension is a regular payment from the government that most people can claim in later life. You can claim the new State Pension when you reach State Pension age if you have at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions and are:

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


If you were born before these dates you’ll get the old State Pension instead.


You can claim your State Pension up to four months before you reach State Pension age. However, it doesn’t start being paid until you reach State Pension age.


If you claim your State Pension after you reach State Pension age, then you can request backdating of your State Pension. The maximum period of backdating is 12 months, but a claim can be backdated to a date before you reached State Pension age. 


You can claim your state pension and still continue to work. Any money you earn won’t affect your State Pension, but it may affect your entitlement to other benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. The State Pension is taxable, so when added to your earnings it may put you into a higher tax band. On a positive note, when you reach State Pension age, you won’t have to pay National Insurance anymore, even if you keep on working.


The full rate of the new State Pension will be £221.20 per week in 2024-25 but you may get more or less, depending on your National Insurance (NI) record. You can check your NI record and your pension entitlement here:

If you’ve already built up NI contributions under the pre-2016 system, you’ll be given a ‘starting amount’.


This will be the higher of the following:

  • the amount you would have received under the pre-2016 system, including basic and additional pension
  • the amount you would get if the new State Pension had been in place at the start of your working life.


If your ‘starting amount’ is more than the full amount of the new State Pension, then any amount over that level will be protected and paid on top of the full amount when you start to claim the new State Pension.

If your starting amount is less than the full amount of the new State Pension, then you may be able to build up a higher level of new State Pension through contributions and credits you make between 6 April 2016 and when you reach State Pension age.


So, your State Pension amount will be the higher starting amount figure plus the value of any qualifying years you had from 6 April 2016 onwards, up to the full rate of the new State Pension.


If you made no NI contributions before April 2016, your State Pension is calculated entirely under new State Pension rules. You usually need at least ten qualifying years in your NI record to get the new State Pension. Your new State Pension is more likely to be calculated in this way if you were born after the year 2000 or became a resident of the UK after 2015.


If you have:

  • at least 35 years of NI contributions, then you may get the full amount
  • between 10 and 34 years of contributions, then you’ll receive a proportion of the full amount
  • less than 10 years of NI contributions, then you aren’t usually eligible for the new State Pension.


The State Pension is based on your own contributions and in general you’ll not be able to claim on your spouse or civil partner’s contributions at retirement, or if you’re widowed or divorced. However, if you’re widowed, you may be able to inherit part of your partner’s Additional State Pension that was already built up under the pre-2016 rules. 


If you’re a woman who paid the reduced rate ‘married woman’s contributions’, you may be able to use these contributions towards the State Pension.


You don’t have to claim your State Pension when you reach State Pension age. This is known as deferring, and could mean that you get extra State Pension when you do claim. How much extra you get will depend on how long you defer claiming it. The State Pension increases by 1% for every 9 weeks you put off claiming it, or around 5.8% for each full year. This may not apply to you if you get certain benefits.


If you have gaps in your record and want to boost your State Pension, you could make voluntary NI contributions. How much these are and if you are eligible will depend on your individual circumstances.


You won’t normally receive your State Pension automatically. You should get an invitation letter from the Pension Service four months before you reach State Pension age, explaining how to claim your State Pension.


You can claim your pension online, over the phone or by post. You’ll need to provide your National Insurance number when you make a claim and you may need to provide evidence of your date of birth. You can claim your State Pension online on GOV.UK The service is available 24/7 and is safe and secure. You can call the helpdesk on 0800 169 0154 if you have any difficulty using the service.


To claim over the phone, call the Pension Service claim line on 0800 731 7898. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (except public holidays). You can also fill in a claim form and return it by post. You have to phone the Pension Service to get a State Pension claim form posted to you, although this will take longer!

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David Elliott

Chartered Accountant, BSC, FCA

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