Working past State Pension age

Reaching State Pension age doesn’t mean you have to give up work. You can continue working and still receive your State Pension. Find out about your options and the advantages of working longer.

Retirement age

Default retirement age (formerly 65) was abolished - most people can now work for as long as they want.

Retirement age is not the same as State Pension age which can be between 61 and 68, depending when someone was born and if they’re male or female. Anyone can continue working past State Pension age.

Choosing when to retire

Retirement age is when an employee chooses to retire. Most businesses don’t set an age that their employees must retire at. If an employee chooses to work longer they can’t be discriminated against. However, some employers can set an age that employees must retire at if they can clearly justify it.

It’s an employee’s responsibility to discuss when and how to retire with their employer. This could include phasing retirement by working flexibly. Members of occupational pension schemes need to discuss with their pension scheme managers what impact a change in working hours or income might have on the pension, whether the scheme supports phased retirement or working beyond the scheme’s normal pension age.

Employers may or may not be able to agree requests. If an employee is unhappy with their employer’s decision, they can challenge this at an employment tribunal.

Retirement is a form of resignation - employers and employees must follow the right procedures for this.

Consider your employment options

If you decide that you want to continue working, you may want to think about flexible working options. Flexible working describes any working pattern adapted to suit your needs. This includes reducing your hours to give you more personal time.

You may decide that you want to look for a new job and do something different. Or you may decide you want to start working for yourself. If you do not need the extra income, but want to stay active and involved, you could look at volunteering.

Working and deferring 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). 

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.

For more information, read the following section:

The advantages of staying in work

If you decide to work longer, you're likely to take home more money because you don't pay any National Insurance when you're over State Pension age.

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.

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.

Continuing in work and your workplace pension

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.

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.

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