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Increasing your income when you get to pension age

money Once you reach State Pension age you still have options for increasing your retirement income. You may be able to take home more money from doing the same hours of work. You can put off claiming your State Pension to get a one-off cash payment or a higher pension and there can be advantages to putting off taking a personal or company pension.

Increasing your income: your options

There are several ways which may increase your income after you reach State Pension age.

Earn more doing the same hours of work

After State Pension age you don't pay National Insurance - and after 65 you get a more generous tax allowance. So you take home more of your pay packet. Or you may be able to reduce your hours and still earn a similar amount.

Put off claiming your pension to get more for the rest of your life

If you continue working, or have other sources of income, it may be worth delaying claiming your State Pension. This means you could get more when you do start claiming a pension. The same might apply to any company or personal pension. However, you should take advice before delaying claiming your company or personal pension, because you could get less by delaying.

Putting off claiming your State Pension is called deferring. The longer you put it off, the more your State Pension grows - as long as you defer for at least five weeks. You don't have to say in advance how long you'll defer for and you can start claiming it at any point.

Get a one-off payment

If you put off claiming your State Pension for a year or more, you may be able to get a lump sum when you come to claim it, instead of taking a higher pension.

Combining the options

You can also choose to combine these options. You might choose to continue working, but also claim your pension. Or you might choose to work part-time.

Key facts

If you have a workplace pension, your employer may allow you to put off claiming it until after your company's normal retirement age. It depends on the scheme. You can check with your employer or the scheme to find out.

You can start taking an income from a personal pension at any age between 55 and 75.

Case study

Here is an example of how these choices can affect someone's income after State Pension age. Maureen is coming up to State Pension age, which for her is 63.

"I earn £337 a week working full time. I found out that if I start claiming my State Pension straight away when I am 63 I can expect to get £138 a week. I've got a small bit of savings for emergencies but I don't have any personal pensions. I'm not sure that'll be enough when I stop work - I'd have to make some sacrifices to drop £194 in income a week. I'm really worried - is there anything I can do?"

Maureen can make a real difference to her retirement income by working for a bit longer. Maureen's options are:

  • continue working the same hours and take home £368 because she stops paying National Insurance
  • defer claiming her State Pension for a year which could give her a permanent increase of £14 a week - this would give her State Pension of £152 a week
  • defer claiming her State Pension for a year and get a one-off payment of around £7,335 and State Pension of £138 a week

Maureen's circumstances are based on real-life situations.