Claiming State Pension

Even if you are entitled to receive State Pension, you will not automatically begin receiving it: you must claim your State Pension. You should receive a claim form from the Department for Work and Pensions shortly before you are due to reach the State Pension age. If you have not received a claim form and you reach State Pension age in less than three months, contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 60 60 265 for assistance.


Once you have completed and returned the form, you should start receiving your pension when you have reached State Pension age. Your State Pension will be paid into your bank, building society, National Savings or Post Office® account by direct debit. You can choose which account you would prefer to have your pension paid into on your State Pension claim form. If you are blind or require someone else to collect your pension on your behalf, your State Pension can be sent to you in the form of a cheque which can be cashed at the Post Office®.


You do not have to begin withdrawing your State Pension when you reach State Pension age. You can defer taking your pension, entitling you to claim a higher pension benefit or a one-off lump sum when you begin claiming it later on. For more information see Early/Late Retirement and the State Pension.


For 2007/2008 the full State Pension is set at £87.30 a week for singles and £139.60 a week for couples, which assumes one full pension and one full married woman’s pension. Remember, State Pension increases each year on a level with inflation, so the amount of State Pension given in the future will not match the current figures given above. If you do not qualify for a full State Pension because you do not have enough qualifying years on your National Insurance record, you will get a reduced State Pension between the minimum and maximum amounts for the current tax year. For 2007/2008 the minimum pension is £21.83, and the maximum is £87.30. If you have less than twenty-five percent of the tax years in your working life as qualifying years on your National Insurance record, you are usually not entitled to any State Pension. You may however be entitled to other benefits such as Pension Credit (see Pension Credit). If you are over eighty years old you should receive the age entitlement in addition to your State Pension, which is currently an additional twenty-five pence a week. If you are over eighty years old and not receiving the State Pension, you may be entitled to the Over 80 Pension (see Over 80s Pension).


If you do not have enough qualifying tax years on your National Insurance record for a State Pension, you may be able to claim one based on the National Insurance record of your husband. The current full wife’s pension for 2007/2008 is £52.30. Currently husbands cannot claim based on their wife’s record, nor can same-sex civil partners claim using the record of their partner. However, from 6th April 2010 you will be able to use your wife or partner’s record as a basis for your own State Pension. You may also be able to claim a State Pension based on your former husband, wife or civil partner’s National Insurance record if they have died before you or if your partnership ended in divorce. See State Pensions and Family for more details. For guidance regarding your individual situation, contact the Pension Service on 0845 60 60 265.


You will have to pay tax on your State Pension if your total retirement income exceeds the tax-free allowance, that is, the amount of income you are entitled to receive without being required to pay tax on it. If your State Pension is your only source of income, you will not have to pay any tax on it. See the article State Pension Tax for more information.

 

You must keep the Pension Service informed of any changes to your circumstances, such as moving abroad or going into hospital, so that they can ensure you are receiving the correct benefits at all times.