Retirement planning for current pensioners
Find out which State Pension you can receive (depending on your State Pension age) and ways to increase your income in retirement.
The State Pension changed on 6 April 2016.
Whether you’re eligible and how much you could get depends on your National Insurance record.
If you have a low income in retirement, including any State Pension, you may be entitled to Pension Credit.
If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016
This is the case even if you’ve delayed (deferred) claiming your State Pension.
You won’t get your State Pension automatically. You have to claim it . You should have received a letter 4 months before you reached State Pension age, which tells you what to do. You can claim online, over the phone or by post. You can still claim your State Pension if you haven’t received a letter.
If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016
You can claim the new State Pension. You’ll usually need to have at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record.
The new State Pension is based on your own National Insurance record. You may receive an extra payment if you’re widowed or paid reduced-rate National Insurance contributions.
You won’t get your State Pension automatically. You have to claim it . You should have received a letter 4 months before you reached State Pension age, which tells you what to do. You can claim online, over the phone or by post.
If you’re within 4 months of your State Pension age, you can still claim your State Pension if you haven’t received a letter. You’ll also need to claim if you want to stop deferring your State Pension.
Working past State Pension age
You don’t have to stop working at State Pension age. If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, you have the right to flexible working arrangements, which may help you to reduce your hours gradually.
Other ways to increase your income in retirement
You can also choose to:
- delay, or take a break from (defer), claiming your State Pension which may mean that you receive more when you do
- pay Voluntary National Insurance Contributions to fill gaps in your National Insurance record, which may increase your State Pension
State Pension top up
If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, State Pension top up could help you to increase your State Pension by up to £25 per week, in exchange for a lump sum payment.
The increased payment is guaranteed for life, and is protected against inflation, so will hold its value over time. In most cases, your spouse or civil partner can receive between 50% and 100% of the State Pension top up pension payment after your death.
The scheme costs less the older you are, and the amount you’ll need to pay depends on your age and the amount you wish to increase your State Pension by.
Use our calculator to find out how much you would need to pay. Scheme applications are open for a limited time only, until 5 April 2017.
Find out more about State Pension top up. It may not be suitable for everyone, so find out whether the scheme could be right for you.
Further support in retirement
If you find yourself without an adequate income in retirement, you may be able to receive Pension Credit. This is an income-related benefit that can increase your total weekly income, including any State Pension, to a minimum amount.
Pension Credit isn’t based on your National Insurance contributions. You may get Pension Credit even if you aren’t eligible for any State Pension.
The exact amount will depend on your individual circumstances.
In the 2016 to 2017 tax year, this minimum amount is £155.65 for single people or £237.55 for couples. You may receive more if you have a severe disability, caring responsibilities or certain housing costs. Find out if you might be eligible and how to apply.
You can’t increase your State Pension by deferring it whilst you’re claiming Pension Credit.
Applying for a bus pass
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born on or before 5 May 1953, you could get between £100 and £300 to help pay your heating bills this winter. Find out more about Winter Fuel Payments.
Published: 3 October 2016