State pension explained

5 minutes

What is the state pension?

The UK state pension is a regular payment you will receive from the government once you reach the state pension age.

The state pension pays a 'flat-rate' pension up to a maximum of £164.35 a week representative of £8,546.20 per year (2018-19), for people retiring on or after 6 April 2016. The amount you receive will be based on your national insurance contributions.

Increasing your state pension

You could receive more than the maximum flat rate if you choose to delay taking your payments once you reach the state pension age.

The payments you receive will increase by 1% for every 9 weeks you delay taking them. Below is an example of how this affects your payments over the course of one year.

Yearly increase if you delay by one year:

+ £493

How this will affect your weekly payments:


Why you might receive less than the maximum flat-rate

  • If you don't have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to receive the maximum flat-rate state pension
  • If you haven't paid any voluntary contributions to make up for any shortfall you may have
  • If you were 'contracted out' (opted out of additional state pension scheme that existed before 6 April 2016
You can request a copy of your National Insurance record from HM Revenue & Customs.

Things to consider

  • You have to claim your state pension
  • Everyone will build up entitlement based on their contributions
  • If you have less than 10 years NI contributions, you won't normally be entitled to any State Pension
  • The Pension Service should automatically send you a claims form four months before your pension age
  • The state pension is paid directly into your current account
  • You don't have to take your state pension straight away
  • You have to pay tax on your state pension and it counts towards your annual allowance
  • If you don't get the forms you can call the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898

Did you reach the state pension age before April 2016?

If you reached the state pension age before April 2016 the most you can currently receive is £122.30 per week.

If you receive a higher State Pension under the previous State Pension scheme, you'll still be entitled to the higher amount.

Visit the website to find out more about the old basic state pension rules

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