Press release

'State Pension top up’ scheme starts 12 October 2015

A new scheme to help anyone reaching State Pension age before 6 April 2016 to safeguard their long-term financial security.

From tomorrow (12 October 2015), a new scheme is being launched helping anyone reaching State Pension age before 6 April 2016 to safeguard their long-term financial security.

Men aged 65 or older and women aged 63 or older are being offered a chance to increase their State Pension by up to £25 a week, giving them guaranteed extra income for life.

The scheme will remain open for 18 months and those who think they can benefit will be able to buy additional State Pension – worth up to £1,300 a year. In most cases, surviving spouses and civil partners will be able to inherit at least 50% of the extra pension.

This is an opportunity for people to increase their guaranteed retirement income for the years ahead with a boost which will be index-linked, helping to protect pensioners and their spouse or civil partner from inflation.

Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann said:

This government’s commitment is to provide security for working people at every stage of their lives, and that includes giving people the chance to enjoy a financially secure retirement. We have already committed to protecting pensioner incomes with the triple lock – uprating the basic State Pension by at least 2.5% each year of this Parliament. The new State Pension, coming in from April 2016, will ensure a simpler, more sustainable State Pension for the pensioners of tomorrow.

Top up is an opportunity for people already retired, or reaching State Pension age before April 2016, to boost their later life income. It won’t be right for everybody and it’s important to seek guidance or advice to check if it’s the right option for you. But it could be particularly attractive for those who haven’t had the chance to build significant amounts of State Pension, particularly many women and people who have been self-employed.

With the scheme launching tomorrow, anyone who thinks they might benefit should seek advice and can visit our online calculator and find out more.

The cost of a State Pension top up is based on a person’s age and takes average life expectancy into account. For a 65-year-old, an extra £10 of pension a week will cost £8,900, whereas for a 75-year-old the contribution rate for the same amount of pension is £6,740.

More information on State Pension top up and how to apply is available at This includes an online calculator which illustrates the contribution rates based on age and the additional amount someone wishes to receive.

More information

State Pension top up can give pensioners an extra £1 to £25 a week in exchange for a lump sum payment. It is being introduced as an option for existing pensioners to increase their state pensions, ahead of the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016.

People are eligible if they are entitled to a UK State Pension and have already reached their State Pension age or reach it before 6 April 2016. This includes men born before 6 April 1951 and women born before 6 April 1953.

Available from 12 October 2015 until 5 April 2017

It is available from 12 October 2015 until 5 April 2017. Contribution rates decrease with age, so a person should consider whether to wait until their next birthday to apply.

Unlike Pensioner Bonds there is not a limited amount of money available for this, so people do not need to rush with applications. There is an 18 month window to apply.

Not just extra income

State Pension top up not only provides extra income. It is also:

  • guaranteed for life
  • protected against inflation
  • inheritable in most cases

The State Pension top up, like the State Pension, may be taxable.

The cost depends on the top up amount – between £1 and £25 a week. It’s also affected by age when making the payment: cost decreases as age increases.

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