State Pension age rising this week – how to check your eligibility & payment amount
State pensions are based on how many years of national insurance contributions a person has. To receive any state pension, a person will need to have contributed at least 10 years worth of national insurance. To receive the full amount of state pension, a person will need to have 35 years of contributions under their belt. So long as the person has contributed 35 years needed they will receive £168.60 per week.
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State pension is calculated using everybody’s specific national insurance record which will mean most people will receive different amounts.
However, when it comes to increases everybody will receive the same boosts.
Under the current system, state pensions will increase by what is known as the “tripe lock”.
This means that stat pensions increases will be whichever is the highest of the average percentage growth in wages (earnings), the percentage growth in prices as measured by the consumer prices index or 2.5 percent.
From April, state pension will increase by 3.9 percent under this system, which has been the biggest increase since 2012.
From this Friday, the 6th of March, state pension age will increase from 65 to 66 for a large portion of the country.
Both men and women born between 6 June 1954 and 5 July 1954 will see their state pension age rise.
Changes to the state pension age occur quite frequently and the government regularly review the system in place, which could make it somewhat tricky to keep on top of eligibility for the payments.
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Fortunately, the government has tools in place to help people check on the exact date they’ll qualify for state pension as well as see how much they’ll receive.
To check on specific state pension ages, people will need to go online. The government tool will first ask the user if they’re calculating their state pension age or buss pass age.
Once state pension age is selected it will ask for the user’s date of birth and gender.
The final screen will provide a date for when the user will reach state pension, which will fall on a specific birthday.
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It is also possible to check on the amounts that a person will receive, which is known as a state pension forecast.
This can be done online but a government account will be needed. The user can either sign in with “Government Gateway”, gov.uk Verify, or with a digital identity scheme from another European country.
If the person enquiring reaches state pension age in more than 30 days they can call the Future Pension Centre and ask for a statement.
Statements can also be applied for by filing in the BR19 application form and posting it to the government. If this option is taken, the statement will take 10 working days to arrive.
Once a person is aware of their state pension age and what they’ll receive as income they have a number of options.
If they feel that the amount is not enough they can choose to defer their state pension payments, which could boost their payments by one percent for every nine weeks they defer.
They can also choose to top up their national insurance voluntarily if they find that there are any gaps in their contribution history.
However, there will be a charge for this and gaps in national insurance can usually only be paid from the previous six years. State pensions will be a key focus for many people with the upcoming budget. With pension income struggling to provide for later years, many will be anxious about a potential cut to payments. Other groups, like the WASPI demographic, will likely also keep an eye on any propsals made for state pension ages.
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