State Pensions

State Pension is paid to entitled people who claim it having reached State Pension age. It is based on National Insurance (NI) contributions and it is made up of different elements.

Current State Pension age

For men born before 6 December 1953, the current State Pension Age is 65.

For women born before 6 April 1950, the current State Pension Age is 60.

For women born on or after 6 April 1950 but before 6 December 1953, their State Pension Age is between 60 and 65.

The State Pension Age will increase again to 66 between November 2018 and October 2020 which means that for men and women born on or after 6 December 1953 but before 6 October 1954, their State Pension Age is between 65 and 66.

Between April 2026 and April 2028 the State Pension Age will again increase to 67 and then again between April 2044 and April 2046 to 68.

Since it is intended that the State Pension Age will better reflect changes in life expectancy in the future, it could well mean that the current timetable to increase it to 68 will be revised.


If you are a married woman and cannot get a full basic State Pension because you do not have enough qualifying years based on your own National Insurance (NI) contributions, you may be able to get a State Pension based on your husband's NI contributions. You can only do this if he is already getting a basic State Pension and you are aged 60 or over.

If you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, you may be able to get a basic State Pension based on your late husband's, wife's or civil partner’s NI contributions.

If you are divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved and you cannot get a full basic State Pension based on the qualifying years from your own NI contributions, you may be able to get a basic State Pension based on your former husband's, wife's or civil partner's NI contributions. They do not need to be getting their State Pension.

If you carry on working after claiming your State Pension, your earnings will not affect how much State Pension you get. But if you get an increase for a dependant, their earnings may affect how much increase you get for them.

If you put off claiming your State Pension for at least five weeks when you reach State Pension age, you can earn extra State Pension. The weekly amount of your State Pension will be higher, but you will not get any State Pension for the weeks you put off claiming.

Additional State Pension

The government also provides an additional State Pension which can provide extra money on top of the basic State Pension. This used to be called the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) but was changed to the State Second Pension in April 2002, the new scheme being more generous for low and moderate earners, certain carers and people with a long-term illness or disability. Any additional State Pension earned through SERPS is protected and you keep this regardless of whether you've reached State Pension age or not.

Both SERPS pension and State Second Pension can be inherited by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner with the amount being dependent on the date of birth of the person who has died, subject to a maximum total amount when combined with a person's own additional pension.

'Contracting out' of the additional State Pension

Prior to April 2012, if you were an employee with annual earnings above a certain amount you could choose to leave the additional State Pension scheme and have your entitlement paid in to a private pension scheme instead. This was called 'contracting out' and from 6 April 2012 will only be allowed if you contract out through an occupational salary-related (defined-benefit) scheme (although this will also be reviewed in the future). If you are contracted out through a money-purchase (defined-contribution) occupational pension scheme or a personal or stakeholder pension then on 6 April 2012 you will automatically be brought back into the additional State Pension.