The basic State Pension is a government-administered pension. It is based on the number of qualifying years gained through National Insurance Contributions (NICs) you’ve paid, are treated as having paid or have been credited with throughout your working life.
– If entitled, you can receive the basic State Pension when you reach State Pension age. This is 65 for men born on or before 5 April 1959 and 60 for women born on or before
– 5 April 1950. The State Pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1950 but before 6 April 1955 is rising from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. The State Pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1955 but before 6 April 1959 is 65. State Pension age will increase for both men and women from age 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046.
You qualify by building up enough ‘qualifying years’ before State Pension age. A qualifying year is a tax year where you have sufficient income to pay NICs, or are treated as having paid or being credited with NICs.
If you haven’t paid enough NICs because you’ve been looking after children or caring for someone long-term, you may be eligible for Home Responsibilities Protection. If you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2010, Home Responsibilities Protection can reduce the number of qualifying years you need to qualify for the basic State Pension.
If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010, Home Responsibilities Protection is being replaced with National Insurance credits. Years of Home Responsibilities Protection built up before 6 April 2010 will count as qualifying years of National Insurance credits.
If you’ve been receiving certain benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance – ‘contribution’ based (if you have paid enough NICs), you’ll have automatically received National Insurance credits for the weeks when you’ve been claiming.
If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010 and don’t qualify for the full basic State Pension, but have some qualifying years, you will get one thirtieth of the full amount for each qualifying year.
If you are or have been married or in a civil partnership you may be entitled to some basic State Pension through the National Insurance record of either:
– your spouse or civil partner
– your former or late spouse or civil partner
If you’re aged 60 or over and living in Great Britain, Pension Credit could top up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum amount. From 2010, the age from which you can get Pension Credit will gradually increase.
You don’t have to claim your State Pension as soon as you reach State Pension age. If you wish, you can put off claiming it and get a higher weekly amount or the option of a one-off taxable lump sum payment instead.
If you are thinking about deferring your State Pension you need to consider how the changes to State Pensions from 6 April 2010 may affect your decision.