Move to equalise male and female pension ages
The State Pension is a regular payment from the Government that is claimed when you reach your State Pension age. The State Pension is based on your National Insurance record. It takes into account the National Insurance you built up before the new State Pension was introduced in 2016, as well as contributions and credits since then. This means not everyone will receive the same amount.
You normally need at least ten years of National Insurance contributions or credits to obtain any new State Pension. People who don’t have a National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 will need 35 qualifying years to get the full amount of new State Pension when they reach State Pension age. These are usually people in the UK who began working after 6 April 2016. You can still receive the State Pension if you have other income such as a personal or workplace pension.
New state pension
People who do have a National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 will have their National Insurance record before then taken into account when their new State Pension is calculated. If you qualify for the new State Pension, the amount you will get for your record up to 6 April 2016 is no less than you would have got under the old rules. National Insurance contributions help towards the State Pension, other benefits and funding for the NHS.
Women now start to qualify for the State Pension at the same age as men, currently set at 65. The move to equalise male and female pension ages began 25 years ago and has been gradually phased in. Your State Pension age is the earliest age you can start receiving your State Pension. It may be different to the age at which you can take a workplace or personal pension.
Undergoing radical changes
The State Pension age has been undergoing radical changes, and more changes are planned for the future. The State Pension age will increase for both men and women, to reach 66 by October 2020. The Government is also planning to increase the State Pension age from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and has also accepted the findings of the Cridland review, which recommended that the pension age should rise further – to age 68 – by 2039.
Women aged 65 on 6 November 2018 were the first to wait for as long as men. For more than 60 years, women received their pensions at the age of 60, but that has been rising ever since. The equalisation of State Pension age and future planned increases are a further prompt to women to think about how much they’ll need to save for a comfortable retirement.
Life expectancy variations
The Government has made a commitment to review the State Pension age every five years. This includes an analysis of life expectancy projections by the Government Actuary’s Department, and reports from an independently led body on wider factors that should be taken into account when setting State Pension age, such as variations in life expectancy.
The move to increase the State Pension age is the result of successive governments accepting that unless the qualifying age went up, the State Pension would become unaffordable. This is going to be kept under review, which means that it could change again in the future, depending on different factors, such as changes in life expectancy.