Understanding the additional State Pension
The additional State Pension is provided by the government. It can give you extra money on top of your basic State Pension. You may have a pension that 'contracts' you out of the additional State Pension. Find out more about the additional State Pension and what contracting out means.
Who gets the additional State Pension?
You may be contributing to or receiving credits towards the additional State Pension if you're below State Pension age and you're:
- employed and earning over £5,668 (from any one job)
- looking after children under 12 years old and claiming child benefit
- caring for a sick or disabled person for more than 20 hours a week and claiming Carer's Credit
- a registered foster carer and claiming Carer's Credit
- receiving certain other benefits due to illness or disability
If you're employed and have a pension then you may be ‘contracted out’ of the additional State Pension. This means you're unlikely to be contributing towards the additional State Pension. Find out more in ‘Contracting out of the additional State Pension’ below.
SERPS and the State Second Pension
The additional State Pension has gone under different names in the past. You used to get additional State Pension through the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).
When entitlement to the additional pension is calculated, the earnings on which it is based are revalued in line with the growth in average earnings.
See ‘SERPS and the State Second Pension’ to find out more.
Inheriting additional State Pension
If your spouse or civil partner dies, you may be able to inherit some of their additional State Pension. See ‘SERPS and the State Second Pension’ to find out how much additional State Pension can be inherited.
Contracting out of the additional State Pension
If you’re an employee with annual earnings above a certain amount (£5,668 in 2013-2014) - you may be able to choose to leave the additional State Pension. You can join a private pension instead. This is called 'contracting out'. It is not possible to leave the basic State Pension.
If you have a company pension, your employer should tell you if it is contracted out.
See the following link to find out more about contracting out of the additional State Pension.
Track down an old pension
If you think you may have an old pension but can't remember the details then the Pension Tracing Service may be able to help you.
Who does not get additional State Pension?
You may not become entitled to the additional State Pension based on contributions or credits during periods where one of the following applies to you:
- you're self-employed (because you pay lower National Insurance contributions)
- you're unemployed
- you're in full-time training
You may get credits towards your basic State Pension while you're not working, but you may not receive credits towards the additional State Pension.
In some cases, if you're unable to work because of illness or disability, you may receive credits towards the additional State Pension.
How to claim the additional State Pension
If you're entitled to additional State Pension then you should receive it when you claim your basic State Pension. See ‘Claiming the basic State Pension’ to find out more about how you can claim your State Pension.
When can I claim the additional State Pension?
If you're entitled to additional State Pension then you can claim it when you reach State Pension age. See ‘Calculating your State Pension age’ to find out when your State Pension age is.
How additional State Pension is increased
Additional parts of the State Pension rise in line with the increase in prices. These include:
- the State Second Pension (S2P)
- the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS)
- Graduated Retirement Benefit
- Extra State Pension received for deferring or putting off (deferring) your State Pension claim (also called ‘increments’)
Until you reach State Pension age, the State Second Pension or SERPS you have built up will usually increase with the growth in average earnings. This is also known as ‘revaluation’.