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State pension: everything you need to know
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:16 am 
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The state pension is a paid weekly by the UK government to all citizens of state pension age, regardless of where they live. However, how much you receive depends on a range of factors including age, marital status, work history and where in the world you live.

State pension age

The state pension age has been updated to reflect changes in longevity and lifestyles. While women used to reach state pension age at 60 and men at 65, that is being phased out so that by 2018 both will qualify for a state pension at age 65. If you are a woman born between April 1950 and 6 December 1953 and unsure what your state retirement age will be, use the government's calculator to find out.

State pension age will rise to 66 from 2020 and to 67 from 2026, and further rises are in the pipeline.

How much you will get

If you are set to reach state retirement age before April 2017 you will be able to claim the basic state pension. This is worth up to £107.45 a week in the 2012/13 tax year and £110.15 from April 2013.

Married couples and civil partners receive a joint pension worth up to £171.85 a week (£176.15 from April 2013) if only one of them qualifies for the full basic state pension.

How much you get depends on how many years of national insurance contributions you have made over your working lifetime. To qualify for the full amount you need to have made 30 years' contributions – either by working, being credited while caring for a family, or voluntarily paying to make up missed years.

The value of the basic state pension rises every April. This rise is guarded by a "triple-lock", which means it goes up by whichever is the highest out of these three things:

• The average percentage growth in wages in Great Britain

• Inflation as measured by CPI for the previous September

• 2.5%

On top of the basic state pension you might qualify for some additional pension – either the second state pension (S2P) or the state earnings related pension (Serps).

Whether you qualify, and how much for, again depends on your national insurance contributions. It also depends on whether you "contracted out" at any point – this was an option that allowed you to pay NI contributions into a private pension scheme rather than using them to build up state pension entitlement. Read more


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