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Home Finance One in five people don’t know when they will get their state pension

One in five people don’t know when they will get their state pension

by Jessica Weisman-Pitts
senior couple counting their expenses SBI 300731486
  • One in five (19%) people don’t know when they’ll get their state pension.
  • Almost a quarter (23%) of women didn’t know compared to just 15% of men.
  • The younger you are, the more confusion there is. Almost half (46%) of 18-24-year olds don’t know their state pension age.
  • Over a third (36%) of people didn’t know how much they could expect to receive from the state pension (including 43% of women).
  • A quarter (26%) expected between £151-200 a week in state pension. The current full new state pension is £179.60 per week while the basic state pension is £137.60 per week.
  • Recent HL analysis of government figures showed more than 2m pensioners currently receive less than £100 per week in state pension.

Data from Opinium Survey of 2,000 people carried out in August 2021.

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“We don’t know when we’ll get our state pension, or how much we’ll get – which makes planning for retirement almost impossible.

The state pension age has been on the rise in recent years, which has either passed people by, has left them completely confused, so huge numbers of people have no idea when they might get their pension. Unsurprisingly more younger people are in the dark, partly because it’s such a distant prospect, and partly because some of them are likely to expect more rises in the state pension age by the time they get there.

However, more worryingly, over a quarter of people in the 45-54 age group were also confused and this is concerning, because their plans for retirement should be much more detailed by this stage.

Meanwhile a third of people don’t know how much they are likely to receive – this includes 35% of those in the 55-64 age group. The state pension forms the backbone of many people’s retirement planning and making plans based on incorrect assumptions can derail someone’s plans and undermine their financial resilience.

Over time, increasing numbers of people will receive more state pension, as more people with longer work records reach retirement age. However, not everyone will be able to accumulate the 35 years’ worth of NI needed for the full state pension, and any periods of contracting out will also impact the amount received so people will still slip through the net. Recent HL analysis of government figures showed there are still over 2m pensioners receiving less than £100 per week.

If you don’t know what state pension you’re due to get, it’s vital to check it online. It’s an opportunity to discover whether there any gaps, and to take control of your retirement planning.”

How you can boost your state pension

  1. Go online and check your state pension entitlement on Check your State Pension forecast – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) This will also tell you your state pension age.
  2. Claim child benefit – Women in particular miss out on valuable state pension credits when they are at home looking after children. However, if they claim child benefit, they will receive NI credits that count towards their state pension. Many women have missed out on this in the past because their husband claimed the child benefit rather than them. Others missed out when they opted out of child benefit after the introduction of the high-income child benefit tax charge. If you claim child benefit in your name, then you will get the NI credit towards your pension.
  3. Specified Adult Childcare Credit – Are you under state pension age and looking after a family member under the age of 12 while their parent or main carer goes back to work? If this is the case, you could qualify for NI credits under Specified Adult Childcare Credit as the working parent essentially transfers their NI credit to you.
  4. Buy NI credits – If you can spare the cash you can plug gaps in your NI record by buying voluntary class 3 NI contributions. Buying a full extra year for £800 will boost your pension by £4.80 a week, equivalent to about £250 a year and you can typically buy up to six years’ worth.
  5. Claim Pension Credit – If you’re over state pension age and on a low income then you should check whether you are eligible for Pension Credit. Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to £177.10 if you’re single and £270.30 in joint income if you have a partner. It also entitles you to other benefits such as help with council tax and a free TV licence for the over 75s. Despite having the ability to really boost the income of the poorest pensioners take up of this benefit remains stubbornly low with only around 60% of those entitled claiming it.