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How has the State Pension changed?

Posted on: 25 May 2016 by James Hester

Why planning your pension today will contribute to a more comfortable retirement tomorrow.

Understand pensions

Planning for a secure retirement

The whole point of pensions is that you have enough money to live on when you retire. So, it goes without saying, the more you set aside now as pension savings, the more comfortable your retirement is likely to be.

Maximising your pension options means getting the most out of three sources of retirement income; these are your workplace or personal pension, your State Pension and any other savings you build up.

When it comes to pensions, what you get out very much depends on what you put in!

 

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Your State Pension

The new State Pension has been introduced for people who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. Check your State Pension age here.

The introduction of the new State Pension on 6 April 2016 brings clarity to a system that few people truly understand. The reforms will reduce pensioner means-testing and support personal saving for millions of people.

The earnings-related part of the old rules, which applied to some employed people, known as the Additional State Pension, has come to an end, along with other complicated elements of the old rules. The new State Pension treats everyone’s National Insurance (NI) contributions in the same way.

If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, under the new rules, a starting amount will be calculated taking into account your NI record up to 6 April 2016. If your starting amount is less than the full rate of new State Pension from then on every year you contribute a year of NI, you may add around £4.45 a week of new State Pension to your starting amount, up to the full amount (£155.65 at the 2016/2017 rate) or until you reach State Pension age. This article explains the old State Pension rules and how they changed with the introduction of the new State Pension for people reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016. It does not cover every circumstance and some of the descriptions used simplify what can be complex information. More detailed fact sheets can be found on the State Pension toolkit on GOV.UK. We recommend that you get independent advice before making any financial decisions based on the information in the article. The article is written based on the position at May 2016.

The quickest way to find out your State Pension is to check your State Pension online

Check your State Pension is a new online service where you can find out what State Pension you may get, the earliest you can get it and if you can improve it. Once you have signed in, the service forecasts how much State Pension you may get at your State Pension age. It will also show your National Insurance record, if there are any gaps on your record and how to fill the gaps.  If you are unable to access the online service, you can get a State Pension statement through the post instead.

More information is available at: www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.

 

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Do I qualify?

The new State Pension is a regular payment from the government that you can claim if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. So, that is if you are either a man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953.

As a general rule, you’ll need to have ten qualifying years on your NI record to get any new State Pension.

And if you’re not in work at any point because you’re a parent, carer or unemployed, you can claim credits to increase your State Pension, instead of paying contributions.

 

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Working longer, retiring longer

As people are living longer and working longer, the State Pension age is rising. Over the coming years, the State Pension age will rise to 66 and then to 67.

The fact that people are living longer also means people are spending longer in retirement. It’s therefore more important than ever that you think about how much you are saving for your old age.

You need to get the most you can from your State Pension as well as your workplace pension and any other private savings. At the end of the day, this means setting aside as much as you can afford today, so you have a more comfortable retirement tomorrow.

You can find out more about the State Pension at www.gov.uk/yourstatepension and www.youtube.com/pensiontube

 

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Phrase of the week

Discover more about the new State Pension with our daily glossary of common words and phrases.

Week starting Monday 23 May 2016

Qualifying year

A complete tax year during a person’s working life in which they paid, were treated as having paid or were credited with National Insurance contributions on earnings above the weekly ‘Lower Earnings Limit’ (£112 a week in 2016 to 2017).