3. Eligibility

Once you’ve reached State Pension age and are claiming the basic State Pension you’ll automatically get any Additional State Pension you’re eligible for. There is no need to make a separate claim.

You won’t get the Additional State Pension if you’ve contracted out of it. If you only contracted out for certain periods, you’ll get a reduced amount.

The Additional State Pension is made up of 2 schemes. You might have contributed to both, depending on how long you’ve been working.

The main difference between the 2 schemes is that since 2002 you also contribute to the Additional State Pension if you’re claiming certain benefits.

When you were working Scheme you contribute to When you contribute to the scheme
2002 to now State Second Pension You’re employed or claiming certain benefits
1978 to 2002 State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) You were employed

The State Second Pension since 2002

You contribute towards your Additional State Pension through your National Insurance contributions when you’re:

  • employed and earning over the lower earnings limit of £5,668 a year (in 2013 to 2014)
  • looking after children under 12 and claiming Child Benefit
  • caring for a sick or disabled person more than 20 hours a week and claiming Carer’s Credit
  • working as a registered foster carer and claiming Carer’s Credit
  • receiving certain other benefits due to illness or disability

You’re not eligible if you’re:

  • employed and earning less than £5,668 per year
  • self-employed
  • unemployed
  • in full-time training

Contracting out of the Additional State Pension

You can only contract out if your employer runs a contracted out pension scheme. Check with them.

If you’re a member of a contracted out workplace pension you don’t contribute to the Additional State Pension for the time you belong to the scheme.

This means that when you retire you either don’t get any Additional State Pension or it might be reduced, depending on how long you contracted out.

You and your employer pay lower National Insurance contributions while you contract out. When you retire, you’ll get a pension from your employer’s scheme.

To contract out you must be:

  • earning at least the lower earnings limit of £5,668 a year (in 2013 to 2014)
  • paying Class 1 National Insurance (or treated as paying them - check with your employer)

Different rules apply if you’re a member of a salary-related pension scheme before 6 April 1997. These rights, known as the ‘Guaranteed Minimum Pension’, can’t be taken before age 65 (men) or 60 (women). The Guaranteed Minimum Pension will continue to be paid at these ages even when the State Pension age rises.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.