The State Pension is an important part of many UK retirees’ lives. It can provide them with thousands of pounds to live off of each year. Although you can’t claim it until you reach the State Pension age, you can find out how much you’ll get ahead of time.
Here’s a guide on how to do it.
Who is eligible for the State Pension?
Currently, the pension system is split into two. The type of pension you can claim depends on how old you are and when you retired.
- Men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953 can claim the new State Pension.
- Men born before 6 April 1951 and women born before 6 April 1953 can claim the basic State Pension.
What is the maximum amount of State Pension I can get?
The state pension rises every year because of the triple lock. This is a policy that guarantees an increase in pension payments in relation to earnings, the consumer price index, or by 2.5%, whichever is highest.
This year, 2.5% is the highest of the three figures, so that is how much the pension has increased.
The increase means that those on the full new State Pension will get £179.60 per week (up from £175.20), while those on the full old basic State Pension will get £137.65 (up from £134.25).
Not everyone gets the full amount. What you will get will depend on your National Insurance record. For example, you need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension and 30 years to get the full basic State Pension.
Some people, however, can get more than that. Under previous rules, workers could get what’s known as additional State Pension, which is a top-up to the basic State Pension.
Although the top-up has been scrapped under new rules, the government has allowed many workers to keep their existing entitlements. More information on this is available on the gov.uk website.
How can I check my State Pension amount?
The simplest and fastest way to check how much you will get is by using the State Pension forecast tool on the gov.uk website. You can use the tool to find out:
- How much State Pension you could get. The amount is based on an estimate of what your National Insurance contributions could be by the time you reach the State Pension age.
- When you can get it.
- How to increase it, if possible.
You’ll need to prove your identity to be able to use this service. To do this, you can create either a Government Gateway user ID or a gov.uk Verify account.
If you choose the Government Gateway option, you’ll need your National Insurance number or UK address, a recent payslip or P60, or a valid UK passport.
The gov.uk Verify option works best if you are over 20 years old. For this one, you will need a UK address, a mobile phone and at least one valid photo ID.
It’s worth noting that people who are already accessing their State Pension or who’ve deferred their Pension cannot use the forecast tool.
By phone or post
If you’ll reach the State Pension age in more than 30 days, you can also get a forecast by phone or post.
If you want to get it by post, simply fill in the BR19 application form (on screen or by hand after printing) and then post it to the address on the form.
To get your forecast by phone, give the Future Pension Centre a ring on 0800 731 0175 (or text via 0800 731 0176). They will post your forecast to you. Keep in mind, however, that phone lines may be currently busier than usual due to the coronavirus.
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