Understanding and qualifying for new State Pension

The new State Pension was introduced on 6 April 2016. You can still receive it if you have other income like a personal or workplace pension. Find out who can claim, how many qualifying years you need, how much you can get and the importance of your National Insurance record.

This information is for a man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

Eligibility

You will be able to claim the new State Pension if you’re:

  • A man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • A woman born on or after 6 April 1953

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you will claim under the previous State Pension scheme. You can find out more about this at the link below:

Claiming new State Pension

The earliest you can claim new State Pension is when you reach State Pension age. Use the online calculator to check when you'll reach State Pension age:

The full new State Pension is £164.35 per week. What you’ll receive is based on your National Insurance record.  You can find out more about claiming State Pension at the link below:

Your National Insurance Record

Your new State Pension is based on your National Insurance record. National Insurance contributions or credits on your National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 will also count towards your new State Pension.

You will usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record  to get any new State Pension. The qualifying years don’t need to be consecutive (running one after the other).

This means for 10 years, at least one of the following applied to you. You:

  • worked and paid National Insurance contributions
  • received National Insurance credits due to unemployment, sickness or as a parent or carer
  • paid voluntary National Insurance contributions

You will need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension if you don’t have a National Insurance record before 6 April 2016. 

If you’ve lived or worked abroad you may still be able to get some new State Pension.

You may also qualify if you’ve paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions.

Working after State Pension Age

You don’t have to stop working when you reach State Pension age, but you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance. You can also request flexible working arrangements.

How much you can get

You can find out how much State Pension you can get by visiting GOV.UK:

You may get less than the full new State Pension if you were contracted out before 6 April 2016.

You may receive a higher rate of the full new State Pension if:

  • you have over a certain amount of Additional State Pension
  • you have deferred (delayed) taking your State Pension

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

Starting amount is less than full new State Pension

From 6 April 2016, you may be able to get more State Pension by adding qualifying years to your National Insurance record. You can add qualifying years until you reach the full new State Pension amount or reach State Pension age - whichever is first.

Each qualifying year on your National Insurance record from 5 April 2016 will add about £4.70 a week to your new State Pension.  The exact amount you get is calculated by dividing £164.35 by 35 and then multiplying by the number of qualifying years after 5 April 2016.

Example

You had a starting amount from your National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 of £120 a week.

You have another 5 qualifying years on your National Insurance record after 5 April 2016 (each year adding about £4.70 a week to your State Pension) equalling £23.48 a week.

This adds up to about £143.48 a week for your State Pension. This figure may change as the starting amount is adjusted to account for inflation.

Your starting amount is more than full new State Pension

If you start with more than the full new State Pension, the difference between your starting amount and the full new State Pension is called your ‘protected payment’.

Your protected payment is paid on top of your new State Pension.

Any qualifying years you have from 5 April 2016 won’t add more to your State Pension.

Find out more information on National Insurance contributions on the following nidirect page:

No National Insurance contributions or credits before 6 April 2016

If you didn’t make National Insurance contributions or get National Insurance credits before 6 April 2016, your State Pension will be calculated entirely under the new State Pension rules.

Under these rules, you’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension.

You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension.

You’ll get a proportion of the new State Pension if you have between 10 and 35 qualifying years.

Example

You have 20 qualifying years on your National Insurance record after 6 April 2016.

You divide £164.35 by 35 and then multiply by 20.

Your new State Pension will be about £93.91 per week.

Your new State Pension is more likely to be calculated in this way if you were born after the year 2000 or became a resident of the UK after 2015.

How it's paid

The new State Pension is usually paid every 4 weeks into an account of your choice. You’re paid in arrears (that is for the last 4 weeks, not the coming 4 weeks).

The day your pension is paid depends on your National Insurance number.

Last 2 digits of your National Insurance number Payment day of the week
00 to 19 Monday
20 to 39 Tuesday
40 to 59 Wednesday
60 to 79 Thursday
80 to 99 Friday

There are different rules if you live abroad.

Your first payment

You should get your first payment within 5 weeks of reaching State Pension age.

Example

You reach State Pension age on Monday 1 November and your payment day is a Friday. You’ll get paid:

  • on Friday 5 November (for 1 to 5 November)
  • every 4 weeks on a Friday after that

Get a State Pension statement

A State Pension statement will tell you how much new State Pension you may receive.

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