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Glossary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic state pension
A Guide to the Basic State Pension

The basic State Pension is set up by the government and managed by The Pension Service.

When are you eligible for the basic State Pension?

If entitled, you can receive the basic State Pension when you reach State Pension age which currently stands at:

  • 65 years of age for men

  • 60 years of age for women if you are born
    on or before 5 April 1950

  • 60 to 65 years of age for women between 2010 and 2020 if you are born on or after 6 April 1950

  • 65 to 68 years of age for both men and women between 2024 and 2046

If you wish, it is possible to put off claiming basic State Pension anytime after you have reached State Pension age. If you choose this, you will receive a higher weekly amount or you can choose to take a one-off taxable lump sum payment.

Are you eligible for the basic State Pension?

In order to be eligible for the basic State Pension, you would have to pay enough National Insurance Contributions (NICs) over a specified number of qualifying years. A qualifying year is defined as a tax year during which you have sufficient income to pay NICs. In some cases, you may still be eligible if you treated as having paid sufficient NICs or have been credited with NICs.

How many qualifying years do you need for the basic State Pension?

The number of qualifying years you normally need in order to be eligible for a full basic State Pension is equivalent to about 90 per cent of your working life. This is worked out based on the start of the tax year in which you reach 16 years of age until the end of the tax year preceding the year in which you reach State Pension age. To illustrate this point, if you are a man, you would typically require 44 qualifying years. If you are a woman, you would typically require 39 qualifying years. However, if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010, you will need 30 qualifying years for a full Basic State Pension.

What happens if you have not gained enough qualifying years for a basic State Pension?

You may not have been able to pay NICs for reasons as follows:

  • Caring for children or other family members. In this case, you will still be eligible for a basic State Pension but the number of qualifying years you need to gain will be reduced accordingly. However, you may be eligible for Home Responsibilities Protection.

  • Claiming Benefits: Carer's Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, or Incapacity Benefit. In this case, you will still be eligible for a basic State Pension as you would have automatically be credited with NICs for the weeks when you have been claiming.

How much is the basic State Pension?

Depending on your individual circumstances, the basic State Pension you will receive will vary. However, in 2007-2008, the full basic State Pension per week is as follows:

  • £87.30 for a single person

  • £139.60 for a couple

What happens if you do not qualify for the full basic State Pension?

Provided you have at least 25% or more of the qualifying years, you will receive a weekly basic State Pension. If you have fewer than 25% of the qualifying years, you will not normally be entitled to receive any basic State Pension.

However, it is possible to receive a 'non-contributory' or 'Over 80 Pension' type of state pension. However, this will apply only when you are 80 years and over and meet the residency conditions.

What is Pension Credit?

You could increase your basic State Pension by topping it up with a Pension Credit. When you reach the age of 60 and are living in the UK, your Pension Credit could boost your weekly income. From 2010, the age from which you can get Pension Credit will gradually increase.

How do you start claiming basic State Pension?

You will be sent a claim form by The Pension Service approximately four months before you reach State Pension age. You should contact them if you have not received this form.

How do you receive basic State Pension?

You choose where you would prefer your basic State Pension payments to be made:

  • Directly into your bank or building society

  • Post Office or National Savings account that accepts Direct Debit payment

Learn more about pensions

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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