Based on your National Insurance contributions record, the State Pension is paid by the government as a regular income once you reach your State Pension age. This can be different from the age you want to retire. Alongside workplace and personal pensions, the State Pension plays an essential role in retirement planning.

There are two State Pensions available. Those who reached the State Pension age after 5 April 2016, will receive the new State Pension. Those who reached the State Pension age before 5 April 2016, will receive the old State Pension, and possibly the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) on top.

How is my State Pension calculated?

Your State Pension is based on how many qualifying years of National Insurance contributions you have, including National Insurance credits. National Insurance credits are deducted from your earnings once you earn above a certain level in a week.

If you entered the National Insurance contributions system after April 2016, you’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension, and at least 10 years National Insurance contributions to qualify for a reduced State Pension.

When can I claim the State Pension?

The State Pension age is currently 66 for both men and women and will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. The State Pension age will then rise again to age 68 between 2044 and 2046. These dates are under review by the government.

Can I increase my State Pension?

If you don’t have a full National Insurance contributions record – for example, because you’ve earned no or low income for a few years, or were living abroad – you can increase your State Pension entitlement by making additional voluntary National Insurance contributions.

We recommend getting professional financial advice before making additional voluntary National Insurance contributions. There may be a charge for this.

Can I delay taking my State Pension?

You can always delay taking your State Pension if you don’t want to access it right away or wish to retire later in life.

If you do choose to defer your State Pension, you’ll stop paying National Insurance contributions, and you may qualify for higher payments when you decide to start taking it. 

Finding out more

There is a lot of additional information available on the Government website