How to get a State Pension forecast
Filed under: Pensions
If you're approaching retirement soon, finding out much State Pension you'll receive will likely be one of your considerations.
We reveal how.
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The Government's plans to introduce a new flat-rate State Pension of £144 a week from April 2017 means it's a far simpler calculation for people retiring after that date. If you've paid a minimum of 35 years' worth of National Insurance contributions then you'll get the full pension. If you've paid at least ten years' worth, then you'll get some pension – how much depends on how many years' contributions you've made.
The State Pension age will also change to 66 for both men and women by 2020 and 67 by 2028. At least that's the plan curently. Of course, this could all change, particularly if the Labour Party wins the 2015 General Election outright.
If you're retiring before 6th April 2017, the situation is a lot more complex. Read on to find out more.
Basic State Pension
If you're not eligible for a Basic State Pension or not receiving the full amount, you might be able to 'top up' to £64.40 a week through your spouse or civil partner's National Insurance contributions.
If you don't have enough contributions, you may also choose to pay voluntary contributions to top them up. You'll usually be sent a letter by HM Revenue & Customs if there are gaps in your history.
If you want a quick estimate of when you'll receive your State Pension and how much you'll get, you can use GOV.UK's State Pension Calculator.
If you haven't been working, for whatever reason, you can check how many credits you've accrued by requesting a National Insurance statement from the HMRC website, calling 0845 302 1479 or writing to:
HM Revenue & Customs
SERPS/Second State Pension
The Second State Pension provides additional money to workers (based on National Insurance contributions), carers and people with a long-term disability or illness. If you fit one of those criteria, you will have contributed to your Second State Pension unless you 'contracted out' and paid into an occupational or private pension scheme instead.
If the 2017 pension changes go ahead, then the Second State Pension will be abolished and new retirees will receive the flat-rate Basic State Pension.
For an estimate of your Basic State Pension and Second State Pension, you'll need to request a detailed State Pension statement from the Pension Service website.
To use this, you'll need to register with the Government Gateway, and you'll be sent an activation code in the post.
Make sure you claim this if you're entitled to it – the Government estimates that 1.8 million people currently don't. The Savings Credit element is due to be scrapped in 2017.
If you think you might be eligible for Pension Credit, then you can get an estimate from GOV.UK's Pension Credit calculator.
Note that if you've not reached the Pension Credit qualifying age (60), you should enter 1st January 1950 as your date of birth.