The state pension can be claimed once a person reaches state pension age. However, this age is rising. In November 2018, state pension age parity was reached at 65 for men and women, with it previously having been 60 for women and 65 for men.
The state pension age is now continuing to rise, with it set to reach 66 in October 2020 ahead of further increases.
There are two types of state pension, and the one a person can claim depends on their date of birth.
If a person is a man born before April 6 1951, or a woman born before April 6, 1953, then they can claim the basic state pension.
Should they have been born on or after these dates, they’ll need to claim the new state pension instead.
The rates differ between the basic and the new state pension.
The most a person can currently get on the basic state pension is £129.20 per week.
If a person is married or in a civil partnership, then they may be eligible to increase their basic state pension to £77.45 per week.
The new state pension is something which a man born on or after April 6, 1951, and a woman born on or after April 6, 1953 would be able to claim once they reach state pension age.
If they reached state pension age before April 6, 2016, then claimants will get the state pension under the old rules instead.
A person will usually need at least 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record to get any state pension – however these do not need to be in a row.
Currently, the full new State Pension is £168.60 per week.
However, the actual amount a person gets will depend on their National Insurance record.
It may be that a person has a greater amount if they have over a certain amount of Additional State Pension, or if they have deferred taking the state pension.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the transitional arrangements for the new state pension ensure that no one receives less than they would have done under the previous system, based on their National Insurance record on April 6, 2016.
It’s understood that usually people receiving less than the full rate are doing so because they were previously in an occupational pension scheme so will be receiving those benefits in addition to the state pension.
How to claim the state pension
The state pension is not paid automatically, but instead it must be claimed by the eligible person.
For the new state pension, a person should get a letter no later than two months before they reach state pension age, telling them what to do.
It’s possible to claim the new state pension online, over the phone, by downloading the state pension claim form and sending it to their local pension centre, and from abroad (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
How one claims is different if the claim is from Northern Ireland.
There are three ways to claim the basic state pension, and these are over the phone, by downloading the state pension claim form and sending it to a person’s local pension credit, and claiming from abroad including the Channel Islands.