If you’re claiming your state pension from today, you need to wait until age 66.
The state pension age for men and women has been steadily rising in recent years, to reach the new qualifying age of 66. It means that people born between 6th October 1954 and 5th April 1960 have a state pension qualifying age of 66. If you’re born from 6th April 1960 onwards, your state pension qualifying age will be older, with a phased rise to age 67, and then onto age 68.
As things stand, the government wants to accelerate this phased increase to age 68.
If you have sufficient National Insurance credits, and you don’t have ‘contracted out’ pension rights elsewhere, then your full state pension could be worth as much as £175.20 a week.
To obtain this level of state pension, you need 35 qualifying years of National Insurance credits, and the full state pension amount can be reduced by the equivalent of any contributions paid into private or occupational pensions by virtue of ‘contracting out’ of additional state pension benefits.
One group which has fought the rise in state pension qualifying age is women born in the 1950s, who feel unfairly treated by the significant age rise, from age 60 to 66. These women are also unhappy about what they claim is poor communication around the age rise.
While life expectancy has improved in recent years, making a strong case for a higher state pension qualifying age, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and jobs means that waiting longer for a state pension could prove difficult for more people.
In some parts of the country, life expectancy improvements have not kept pace with national average improvements. With the longer-term trend for improving life expectancy, it’s reasonable to expect the state pension age to continue to increase in the future.
Younger people, in particular, should expect to be able to access their state pension benefits at an older age, and might also lose access to valuable benefits such as the state pension ‘triple lock’, which guarantees generous income inflation each year. A higher state pension age means either working for longer or making your own provision to fund the gap between when you wish to retire and when your state pension is paid.
For many, a state pension income is unlikely to provide for a sufficient lifestyle, especially if it follows a period of full-time employment. While the state pension can make a valuable contribution to your income in retirement, it is a bare minimum level of income that, for most people, will need to be supplemented by other pension income, cash savings or investments.
You can find out your state pension qualifying age at https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age and request a state pension forecast from https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.
This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation which is subject to change.
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