1. Guides
  2. Income & Budgeting
  3. State Pensions Explained: What is the Basic State Pension and the New State Pension?

State Pensions Explained: What is the Basic State Pension and the New State Pension?

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 6th May 2021

Do you want to understand more about state pensions in the UK? Latest Deals has gathered all the information you need to learn more about the Basic State Pension and the New State Pension.

State Pensions in the UK 

Image

In the UK, there is a state pension scheme. This scheme was created to provide a basic income during the retirement years, even if you still want to keep working.

The state pension is a regular payment you can receive from the government when you reach the state pension age. 

This payment varies from person to person depending on their specific case. 

To have the right to receive a state pension, a person needs to have paid for National Insurance for a minimum of 10 years for the new scheme.  For the old scheme, there are no minimum years to qualify for, but you only receive for the amount of time you contributed. 

How much you receive depends upon how much you contributed to National Insurance, and for how long. 

On the 6th of April 2016, the state pension scheme was updated. 

At the moment there are two state pensions in place: the basic State Pension scheme and the new State Pension scheme

We will explain them both below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s important to keep in mind that the state pension scheme should be only part of your retirement income. You also might need to put money aside via a workplace pension or even a private pension. 

You can learn more about workplace pensions here. 

You can learn more about private pensions here. 

Basic State Pension

Image

What is the Basic State Pension? 

This the state pension for people that have reached the state pension age before the 6th of April 2016. 

How much is the Basic State Pension? 

The basic state pension, at the moment, is £137.60 a week (£7,155 a year).

You only get this full amount if you pay for National Insurance for 30 full years.

If you have paid for less than 30 full years, you still get a pension but with a lower payment. 

This amount increases every year, according to the average earnings in the UK, the prices grow or at 2.5% higher, depending on which one is bigger. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use this link to see your state pension forecast. In your state pension forecast, you can have an idea of how much your monthly payments will be. 

Claiming for the Basic State Pension

Image

You claim for basic state pension if you are a man born before the 6th of April 1951. 

You can also claim for the basic state pension if you are a woman born before the 6th of April 1953. 

If you are born after these dates, you can’t get the basic state pension but instead the new state pension. We will talk more about this later in this guide. 

To be eligible for the full payment of the basic state pension you must have paid National Insurance for 30 full years. As mentioned above, if you don’t have 30 years of contributions, you might still be eligible but with lower payments. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: These years don’t need to be consecutive.  

How to claim for the Basic State Pension? 

The best way to claim for the Basic State Pension is by telephone. 

You can use one of these numbers: 0800 731 7898 or 0800 731 7339. 

The pension line is available from Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. The pension line doesn’t work during public holidays. 

Check here other ways to claim your basic state pension. 

When can I claim for the Basic State Pension? 

You can only claim for the basic state pension when you have reached your state pension age. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use this link to see when you reached or will reach the state pension age. The calculation is a bit complicated, so it’s better to use this calculator provided by the UK government. 

You will also need a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to be able to claim it. Then, you will receive the basic state pension in full. 

You can get that by: 

  • Working and paying National Insurance 
  • Receiving National Insurance Credits via unemployment, sickness or as a parent or carer
  • Paying for National Insurance voluntary

If you don’t have 30 qualifying years, you will receive less than £137.60 per week. Keep in mind that you will still receive something according to the amount of years you qualify for. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can only claim for your basic state pension when you have reached the correct age, even if you have already paid for 30 years of National Insurance.

Can I delay my claim for the Basic State Pension?

Yes, you can delay your claim. The longer you delay, the more you receive. 

For every 5 weeks, you delay it, you increase your basic payment by 1%. 

How can I increase my Basic State Pension? 

Image
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you might be able to increase your basic state pension to £82.45 per week. You can check it out here.
  • You can also increase your basic state pension via State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps) or state second pension (S2P). These two schemes are different but they can both increase your weekly payments. Read more about them here. 
  • Another way is by applying for Pension Credit which gives you extra money to cover your living costs if you are over State Pension Age and on a low income. If you receive pension credit, you have the right to receive other benefits, such as reduced council tax. Learn more about this here. 

Getting National Insurance credits

If you can’t pay for National Insurance because of an illness or you need to take care of a child or an adult, you might be able to get National Insurance credits. 

You can also automatically get national insurance credits if you are on some type of benefits. 

Learn more about national insurance credits here.

Paying for National Insurance Voluntary 

If you don’t want to have any gaps in National Insurance payments, you should look into paying for it voluntarily. 

Your National Insurance records are the only thing that influences your state pension. 

The gaps can happen if you were not working and also not receiving any unemployment benefits such as Universal Credit. 

Learn more about this here. 

The new State Pension

Image

What is the new State Pension?

This is the current law for state pensions in the UK. 

After the 6th of April 2016, the state pension in the UK has changed. 

These changes were made to let people know how much they are likely to receive at a much younger age. The basic state pension was much more complicated to calculate than the new state pension.

How much is the New State Pension?

At the moment, the new state pension is £179.60 a week (£9,339 a year). 

You only get this amount if you pay for National Insurance for 35 full years. You can still receive the new state pension if you have paid at least 10 full years, but you will receive a lower monthly payment. 

This amount increases every year, according to the average earnings in the UK, the prices grow or at 2.5% higher, depending on which one is bigger. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use this link to see your state pension forecast.

Claiming for the New State Pension 

Image

You claim for the new state pension if you are a man born after the 6th of April 1951. 

You can also claim for the new state pension, if you are a woman born after the 6th of April 1953. 

How to claim for the New State Pension?

To receive your new state pension, you have to claim it. 

With this new pension scheme, you will receive a letter from the Pension Service around the time you reach your state pension age. 

If you don’t receive this letter, you should call the Pension Service at 0800 731 7898 or 0800 731 7339. 

The pension line is available from Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm. 

The pension line doesn’t work during public holidays.

You can also claim your pension by these phone numbers.

Check here other ways to claim your basic state pension. 

When can I claim my new State Pension?

Within the new state pension, you can claim it at the state pension age if you have at least 10 years of National Insurance contribution.

To receive the full amount, you must have paid for National Insurance for at least 35 full years. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use this link to see when you reached or will reach the state pension age. The calculation is a bit complicated, so it’s better to use this calculator provided by the UK government. 

Can I claim for my New State Pension and keep working?

Yes, you can. If you reach your state pension age you can claim for it, even if you want to keep working. 

It’s important to keep in mind that you won’t increase your pension payments as you won’t be paying any more for National Insurance. 

If you keep working, you might not be entitled to receive Pension Credit. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Pension Credit is a government benefit for people at state pension age and in a low income. This helps them to pay for their living expenses and get a reduced council tax, for example. 

Can I increase my New State Pension?

Image

The only way you can increase your new state pension is by not claiming it when you reach your state pension age. 

For every 9 weeks, you delay, you get an increase by 1%. This will be around 5.8% per year delayed. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: 

  • With the new state pension, you can’t get or inherit a state pension from your husband, wife or civil union partner. 
  • The State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps) and the state second pension (S2P) don’t exist anymore in the new state pension scheme. 
  • If you are in a low-income state, you can still apply for Pension Credit. 

Getting National Insurance credits

If you can’t pay for National Insurance because of an illness or you need to take care of a child or an adult, you might be able to get National Insurance credits. 

You can also automatically get national insurance credits if you are on some type of benefits. 

Learn more about national insurance credits here.

Paying for National Insurance Voluntary 

If you don’t want to have any gaps in National Insurance payments, you should look into paying for it voluntarily. 

Your National Insurance records are the only thing that influences your state pension. 

The gaps can happen if you were not working and also not receiving any unemployment benefits such as Universal Credit. 

Learn more about this here. 

FAQ 

Image

What do you think of this?
We use cookies (e.g. personalisation, analytics, social media). Find out more.