The State Pension is one of the largest sources of income for many in retirement. So, knowing when you’ll receive your pension, as well as how much you’ll receive, can be vital when it comes to retirement planning.
Worryingly, new research indicates that a large number of Brits do not know when they will receive their pension or how much they will receive. As a result, many could be missing out on a chance to take full control of their retirement planning.
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So, how can you find out when you will get your pension and how much you will get? Let’s take a look.
Many Brits don’t know when they’ll get their State Pension
Opinium conducted a survey of 2,000 people in August 2021 to find the level of knowledge about the State Pension among the general public. Hargreaves Lansdown examined the study’s findings and highlighted the following:
- One in five people (19%) do not know when they will get their State Pension.
- Almost a quarter of women (23%) don’t know, compared to 15% of men.
- Confusion is greater among younger people, with almost half (46%) of 18-24-year-olds not knowing their State Pension age.
- More than a third (36%) of people don’t know how much State Pension they should get.
- More than a quarter of people (26%) expect to receive a weekly State Pension of between £150 and £200. In reality, the current new State Pension is £179.60 per week while the basic State Pension is £137.60. Additionally, new data shows that two million pensioners currently get less than £100 per week in State Pension.
Why knowing how much you’ll get is important
The amount of State Pension you will get largely depends on the number of qualifying years on your National Insurance record. To get the full new State Pension, you need 35 years’ worth of NI contributions.
Not everyone will be able to accumulate the required number of years for one reason or the other. There are also many other factors that could lead to you not getting the full amount. That’s why checking how much you can get in advance is crucial.
According to Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, checking provides “an opportunity to discover whether there are any gaps, and to take control of your retirement planning”.
The State Pension age has also shifted over time. It is currently 66 for both men and women, but it is expected to rise over the coming years.
Keeping up with changes in the State Pension age can help you adjust your retirement plans accordingly and ensure that you do not end up in a financially precarious situation because you assumed, for example, that you would begin receiving your State Pension sooner than is actually the case.
How to find out when and how much you’ll get
The good news for those who don’t know when they will get their State Pension or how much they will get is that it’s relatively easy to find out.
You can do this using the government’s check your State Pension forecast service on the gov.uk website. With this tool, you can find out:
- The amount you could get
- When you can get it
- How to boost it, if possible
To use this service, you will need a Government Gateway user ID or a gov.uk Verify account, which you can set up when accessing the gov.uk website. You might also need to answer a few questions to verify your identity.
How to boost your State Pension
In the run up to your retirement, there are a couple of ways to increase your State Pension.
The simplest is to keep making National Insurance contributions so as to continue building up your record. If you are concerned that your record at the time of retirement will not entitle you to a sufficient State Pension, there are ways to boost it.
Child Benefit is available to people, especially women, who are responsible for bringing up a child and who could therefore be missing out on State Pension credits. By claiming Child Benefit, you will receive National Insurance credits that will count towards your pension.
Specified Adult Childcare Credit, meanwhile, is available to someone looking after a family member under the age of 12 while their parent or main carer goes back to work. As with Child Benefit, you will get credits that will count towards your pension.