Based on your National Insurance 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.

Those who reached the State Pension age after 5 April 2016 will receive a flat-rate State Pension. Those who reached the State Pension age before 6 April 2016 will receive the basic State Pension and, possibly, an Additional State Pension based on their earnings.

How is my State Pension calculated?

Your State Pension is based on how many 'qualifying years' you paid, or were credited with paying, National Insurance contributions. 

To receive the full flat-rate State Pension, you need 35 qualifying years on your National Insurance record. If you paid National Insurance before 2016, transitional arrangements will apply.

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 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 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 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