State pension eligibility explained
State pension in the UK is a regular payment you can claim from the government once you reach state pension age. Your state pension age depends on when you were born, and the amount of pension you’ll receive depends on how many National Insurance qualifying years you’ve worked for in the UK. On this page, you’ll learn more about the state pension, what being eligible means, what requirements you’ll need to meet and the different types of state pension.
- Your state pension is the weekly income you could receive from the government once you reach your state pension age
- To be eligible to claim your state pension today, you’ll need to have been born before the 6th April 1951 if you’re a man, or the 6th April 1953 if you’re a woman
- All you need to claim your state pension is your National Insurance number and proof of your date of birth
What's on this page
What is the state pension?
The state pension is a weekly payment from the government that you may be eligible to receive when you reach your state pension age. The amount you’ll receive will depend on how many National Insurance qualifying years you have worked. You usually make National Insurance contributions when you’re working, and you’ll have contributions credited to you when you’re not working.
What does state pension eligibility mean?
Being eligible means you’ve met the requirements to claim the state pension. You’ll be eligible to claim a state pension if you’ve worked for at least 10 years in the UK and have paid National Insurance contributions during that time. The amount you’ll receive will depend on the number of National Insurance qualifying years you’ve worked.
You’ll be eligible to claim your state pension today if you were born before the 6th April 1951 if you’re a man, and before the 6th April 1953 if you’re a woman. The earliest you’ll be eligible to claim a state pension is when you’ve reached your state pension age. You cannot make a claim before this time.
What are the requirements for getting a state pension?
You won’t automatically start receiving your state pension when you reach pension age. In most cases, you’ll get a letter from the Pension Service between two and four months before you reach your state pension age.
This letter will include instructions on what you should do to claim your pension. It will usually set out the three ways for claiming, which are to:
- Claim your state pension online
- Claim over the phone by calling the pension claim line on 0800 731 7898
- Complete and return a pension claim form by post
You’ll need to provide your National Insurance number, and you may need to provide evidence of your date of birth.
If you haven’t or can’t receive a letter, you can make your claim by calling the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898.
What are the different types of state pension?
There are three different types of state pension; basic state pension, new state pension and an additional state pension.
- Basic State Pension: You’ll get a basic state pension if you reached your state pension age before the 6th April 2016. The full basic state pension is £134.25 per week. You will receive this amount if you have a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits. If you have fewer than 30 qualifying years, your basic pension will be less than the full amount, depending on how many years you’ve worked. However, you can top your pension up by making voluntary National Insurance contributions.
- New State Pension: You’ll be able to claim a new state pension if you reached your state pension age after the 6th April 2016. You’ll need at least 10 qualifying years of service to receive any state pension. The full amount you can receive under the new State Pension is £175.20 per week, and to claim this amount you’ll need to have served 35 qualifying years.
- Additional State Pension: If you reached state pension age before the 6th April 2016 and have started claiming your basic state pension, you may be entitled to an additional state pension. You may be eligible if you’ve contributed to one of these three schemes:
Do I qualify for a state pension?
Every UK citizen has the opportunity to qualify for a state pension, and you’ll be eligible to claim if you’ve made enough National Insurance contributions. Once you reach your state pension age and you’ve worked at least 10 qualifying years, you’ll be able to claim your state pension.
Are there other ways to earn an income once I’ve retired?
If you want the security of another income stream alongside your state pension, there are other ways of saving for retirement. You might want to consider one or more of the following options:
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