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Pensions explained

The State Pension

The State Pension provides a regular income from the government for those who have reached the State Pension Age.

What is the State Pension?
What is the State Pension?
The State Pension provides a regular income from the government for those who have reached State Pension Age. Receipt of this income is based upon having paid sufficient qualifying National Insurance contributions, or receiving equivalent National Insurance credits.

The New State Pension

A flat-rate State Pension was introduced with effect from 6 April 2016, for people who reach State Pension Age, on or after this date. This affects:

  • Men born on or after 6 April 1951
  • Women born on or after 6 April 1953

You will normally need at least 10 years qualifying years on your National Insurance record, or equivalent credits to get any State Pension. To get a full State Pension, you will need at least 35 years of qualifying National Insurance payments, or credits.

If you are born before the above dates, your State Pension Age will be based on the old rules. Information on this can be found on the Government's website.

How much is the New State Pension?

The current value of the maximum flat-rate pension is £185.15 a week from 6 April 2022.

You may get less or more than the new maximum State Pension, if you had paid National Insurance contributions, or received credits, prior to 6 April 2016. A calculation will be carried out to determine the starting amount if you have already built up a National Insurance record. This will be a comparison of the entitlements built up to date under the old State Pension, compared to the new State Pension. The higher of the two will be your foundation starting amount for the new State Pension.  

If you were in contracted out-employment, at any time, before 6 April 2016 you will find that a deduction has been made from the starting amount. This is because you will normally have paid National Insurance contributions at a lower rate whilst you were a member of a contracted-out pension scheme. 

If your starting amount is less than £185.15 a week, you will be able to build up more State Pension for any further qualifying years, i.e. years in which you pay or receive National Insurance contributions/credits from 6 April 202​2, until you reach State Pension Age.

Further information

See the Government’s website for further details about the State Pension.