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Working part-time after you retire

Reaching State Pension age doesn't mean you have to give up work - paid or voluntary. You can choose to keep on working while claiming State Pension, or delay your claim and get paid more later on. The government also offers schemes and incentives to help you find work.

Tax on part-time work and other income

Income you receive from part-time work in retirement counts as 'taxable income'– along with income from your State Pension, personal or company (occupational) pensions and from certain taxable benefits.

If your overall taxable income is more than your tax-free allowances you'll be taxed at the usual Income Tax rates on the difference. However you might earn more before paying tax. You don't pay any National Insurance when you're over State Pension age. For people who reached 65 before 6 April 2014, there is a higher tax-free personal allowance. You may also qualify for other allowances that can reduce your tax bill.

Working and putting off claiming your State Pension

There are incentives for you to take your State Pension later, instead of when you reach State Pension age ('deferring' your claim). If you put off claiming you have two options:

  • get a higher weekly State Pension for life later on
  • take the amount you deferred as a taxable lump sum with interest and then get a normal State Pension

You have to put off claiming your State Pension for at least five weeks to earn extra State Pension and at least 12 consecutive months to qualify for a lump sum payment.

Putting off your claim may be especially suitable if you want to work after you reach State Pension age. It will help make you less dependent on the State Pension. But even if you're not working you can still choose to get more by putting off your claim.

If you're thinking about deferring, or taking up your State Pension later, you need to consider how the changes to State Pensions since April 2010 may affect your decision. Read the following page for more information.

What if you're already claiming State Pension?

If you're already getting the State Pension you can cancel your claim if you get the chance to do some work that would pay enough for your needs. Your State Pension will stop until you choose to claim it again.

Then, depending on how long you stopped claiming, you can take either the lump sum or extra State Pension. Note that you can only cancel once – when your State Pension restarts you won't be able to cancel again.

National Minimum Wage after you retire

You are still entitled to the National Minimum Wage for any paid work you do after you reach State Pension age.

Effect of paid work on your current benefits

Money you earn after State Pension age may affect income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.

Staff at the Northern Ireland Pension Centre can tell you how income from paid work will affect your Pension Credit and other benefits. They can also advise you on how putting off claiming your State Pension might affect your benefit entitlement.

If you're looking for work through your local Social Security/Jobs & Benefits office, staff there should be able to tell you how extra income from working may affect your benefits.

Finding work as a volunteer

Working as a volunteer can be extremely rewarding after you retire. It can also help you learn new skills that you may be able to use later for paid work.

If you'd like to find out more about volunteering, there's a range of groups and services to help you. These cover everything from helping in schools to environmental work.

Continuing in work

If you reached the age at which you can start claiming your workplace pension scheme, you don't need to stop work in order to claim. You have a number of options, including taking some of the pension you've built up while continuing to work for the same employer.

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