The UK State Pension is a retirement benefit provided by the government to citizens who have made enough National Insurance contributions. The current State Pension age – the age at which you can start claiming State Pension – is currently 66 for both men and women.
In the past few months, many people reaching State Pension age have experienced delays in getting their first State Pension payment. This has left them at the risk of financial struggle. So what is causing these delays? Is there a plan to solve the problem? And when can pensioners expect to get their money? Here’s everything you need to know.
When is State Pension paid?
Estimates suggest that 13,000 people reach State Pension age every week and become eligible for the benefit. If you are eligible, you have to make a claim as the money is not paid automatically.
You should receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) no later than two months before you reach State Pension age with details on how to claim. But you can also make a claim up to four months before without the letter.
Typically, you get your first payment within five weeks of reaching State Pension age. After that, you’ll get your payment every four weeks.
Why are there State Pension delays?
According to reports, some first-time claimants have experienced delays in receiving their first State Pension payment. Some of these delays have lasted for several months. In addition to delays, new pensioners report having difficulty contacting the DWP by phone.
It is not yet clear how many people have been affected by the State Pension delays. Several sources say that it is in the thousands. The DWP has attributed the problem to the pandemic and staffing shortages that it says have caused backlogs in processing claims.
Due to these delays, some pensioners, particularly those without other pensions, savings, or financial schemes to draw on, have been left with a financial shortfall.
For example, a pensioner facing a two-month delay in receiving the full new State Pension amount of £176.60 per week could be facing a financial shortfall of £1,436.80.
When can you expect to get your money?
Responding to complaints about State Pension delays, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said that the government has deployed hundreds of department staff to help deal with the backlog of payments. Unfortunately, it could be up to six weeks before all issues are resolved.
Those experiencing a delay in getting their State Pension payment do not have to take any action, according to the DWP. A spokesman for the department said that their cases have been identified and their claims will be processed as a priority. They will receive their backdated payments in one lump sum.
Those making claims today, according to the DWP spokesman, should not face any delays.
Where can you get further guidance and advice?
Are you experiencing a State Pension delay? Are you currently struggling to make ends meet as a result? Consider reaching out to organisations such as Citizens Advice, Turn2Us and Age UK for guidance and advice on possible solutions for your current money problems.
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