Additional State Pension

Additional State Pension, also known as the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and State Second Pension, is money paid by the government on top of your basic State Pension if you reached retirement age before 6 April 2016.

This information is for a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953.

Eligibility

Find out below who can get additional State Pension.

Reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016

You won’t get the additional State Pension if you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. You’ll get the new State Pension. You may still be able to inherit additional State Pension from your partner.

Read more in the ‘Inheriting additional State Pension’ section below.

You reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and started claiming the basic State Pension, you’ll automatically get any additional State Pension you’re eligible for. There is no need to make a separate claim.

You may not get any additional State Pension for periods when you were contracted-out of it. Read more in ‘Contracting out’ below.

When you have contributed to the additional State Pension

The additional State Pension is made up of two schemes.

From 1978 to 2002 contributions were built up via the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).

In 2002 the State Second Pension (S2P) replaced SERPS. You are eligible if you contributed to one or both, depending on how long you’ve been working.

The main difference between the two schemes is that with the State Second Pension, you also contributed to the additional State Pension if you were claiming certain benefits or had lower earnings.

Additional State Pension schemes
Time Scheme Eligibility
2002 to 2016 State Second Pension You were employed or claiming certain benefits
1978 to 2002 State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) You were employed

The State Second Pension since 2002

You contributed towards your additional State Pension through your National Insurance contributions if you were:

  • employed and earning over the lower earnings limit of £5,824 in the 2015 to 2016 tax year
  • looking after children aged under 12 and claiming Child Benefit
  • caring for a sick or disabled person more than 20 hours a week and claiming Carer’s Credit
  • working as a registered foster carer and claiming Carer’s Credit
  • receiving certain other benefits due to illness or disability

You’re not eligible for additional State Pension if you were:

  • employed and earning less than £5,824 a year
  • self-employed
  • unemployed
  • in full-time training

How to claim and what you will get

If you are eligible for an additional State Pension, you will automatically get it when you claim your State Pension.

After you claim your State Pension, the Pension Service will write to you and tell you how much you will get. It will be paid with your State Pension into your bank account.

There is no fixed amount for the additional State Pension. How much you get depends on :

  • how many years you paid National Insurance
  • your earnings
  • whether you claimed certain benefits
  • whether you contracted out of the scheme 

Contracting Out

You could only contract out of the additional State Pension if your employer ran a contracted-out workplace pension scheme.

While you were a member of a contracted-out workplace pension you didn’t contribute to the additional State Pension. In some cases, you could get the Second State Pension even if you didn’t contribute, for example if your earnings were low.

You can’t contract out after 6 April 2016. If you were contracted out, your National Insurance contributions increased to your standard rate after this date.

The extra pension you get from a contracted-out workplace pension scheme is usually the same as, or more than, the additional State Pension you would have got, if you hadn’t contracted-out.

Check if you were contracted out

You can find out if you were contracted out by:

  • checking with your employer
  • checking an old payslip
  • calling your pension provider

The Pension Tracing Service might be able to find your pension providers’ contact details if you’ve lost contact with them.

National Insurance while contracting out

You paid lower National Insurance contributions while you were contracted out if:

  • you earned between £155 and £770 a week
  • you were under State Pension age
  • you didn’t pay reduced rate National Insurance

When you retire

You’ll get a pension from your employer’s workplace pension scheme.

Inheriting Additional State Pension

If your spouse or civil partner dies, you may be able to inherit part of their additional State Pension. Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre to check what you can claim and how.

Maximum State Second Pension you can inherit

You can inherit up to 50 per cent of your spouse or civil partner’s State Second Pension.

Maximum SERPS pension you can inherit

The maximum amount of State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) pension you can inherit depends on when your spouse or civil partner died.

If they died before 6 October 2002, you can inherit up to 100 per cent of their SERPS pension.

If they died on or after 6 October 2002, the maximum SERPS pension you can inherit depends on their date of birth.

Man’s date of birth Woman’s date of birth Maximum % of their SERPS you can inherit
5 October 1937 or before 5 October 1942 or before 100%
6 October 1937 to 5 October 1939 6 October 1942 to 5 October 1944 90%
6 October 1939 to 5 October 1941 6 October 1944 to 5 October 1946 80%
6 October 1941 to 5 October 1943 6 October 1946 to 5 October 1948 70%
6 October 1943 to 5 October 1945 6 October 1948 to 6 July 1950 60%
6 October 1945 and after 6 July 1950 and after 50%

How inherited additional State Pension is paid

Any additional State Pension you inherit will be paid on top of your State Pension when you reach State Pension age.

If you get your own Additional State Pension, the maximum total additional State Pension you can get is £167.26 per week.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

You may inherit additional State Pension before you reach State Pension age. You’ll stop receiving it if your Widowed Parent’s Allowance ends.

You may receive it again when you reach State Pension age if you were over 45 when you were entitled to Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

If your Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Allowance ended before you were 55, you’ll receive less additional State Pension.

For more information go to the following page:

When you can’t inherit additional State Pension

You can’t inherit your spouse or civil partner’s additional State Pension if you remarry or form another civil partnership before you reach State Pension age.

The date you reach State Pension age also affects whether you can inherit additional State Pension.

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2010

You can’t inherit your spouse or civil partner’s additional State Pension if they died before they reached their State Pension age and after you reached yours.

This doesn’t apply if you’re a woman who was married to:

  • a man
  • a woman who legally changed their gender from male to female during your marriage

Reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016

You can’t inherit your spouse or civil partner’s additional State Pension if either:

  • your spouse or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2016 and reached (or would have reached) State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016
  • you started your marriage or civil partnership on or after 6 April 2016

If you get divorced

If you get divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved, the court can decide that your additional State Pension should be shared as part of the financial settlement.

You’ll have to fill in the Pensions and divorce or dissolution BR20 form  to give details of your additional State Pension.

 

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