How to get a State Pension forecast


pensionIf you're approaching retirement soon, finding out much State Pension you'll receive will likely be one of your considerations.

We reveal how.

The Government's plans to introduce a new flat-rate State Pension of £144 a week from April 2017 means it's a far simpler calculation for people retiring after that date. If you've paid a minimum of 35 years' worth of National Insurance contributions then you'll get the full pension. If you've paid at least ten years' worth, then you'll get some pension – how much depends on how many years' contributions you've made.

The State Pension age will also change to 66 for both men and women by 2020 and 67 by 2028. At least that's the plan curently. Of course, this could all change, particularly if the Labour Party wins the 2015 General Election outright.

If you're retiring before 6th April 2017, the situation is a lot more complex. Read on to find out more.

Basic State Pension
You must have paid at least a year's worth of National Insurance contributions by working or have received a year's worth of credits (for example if you've received benefits, been ill or been a carer) to receive any Basic State Pension. If you've paid 30 years' worth of National Insurance contributions or received 30 years' worth of credits, you'll get the full Basic State Pension, currently £107.45 a week. If you have fewer years of contributions or credits, you'll receive less.

If you're not eligible for a Basic State Pension or not receiving the full amount, you might be able to 'top up' to £64.40 a week through your spouse or civil partner's National Insurance contributions.

If you don't have enough contributions, you may also choose to pay voluntary contributions to top them up. You'll usually be sent a letter by HM Revenue & Customs if there are gaps in your history.

If you want a quick estimate of when you'll receive your State Pension and how much you'll get, you can use GOV.UK's State Pension Calculator.

If you haven't been working, for whatever reason, you can check how many credits you've accrued by requesting a National Insurance statement from the HMRC website, calling 0845 302 1479 or writing to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Individuals Caseworker
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

SERPS/Second State Pension
You may also have paid into the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and/or the Additional, or Second State Pension. SERPS was replaced by the Second State Pension in 2002.

The Second State Pension provides additional money to workers (based on National Insurance contributions), carers and people with a long-term disability or illness. If you fit one of those criteria, you will have contributed to your Second State Pension unless you 'contracted out' and paid into an occupational or private pension scheme instead.

If the 2017 pension changes go ahead, then the Second State Pension will be abolished and new retirees will receive the flat-rate Basic State Pension.

For an estimate of your Basic State Pension and Second State Pension, you'll need to request a detailed State Pension statement from the Pension Service website.

To use this, you'll need to register with the Government Gateway, and you'll be sent an activation code in the post.

Pension Credit
Pension Credit is paid out to people who have a low retirement income. There are two elements – the Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. The Guarantee Credit is a weekly retirement income of less than £142.70 (for single people) or £217.90 (couples). Savings Credit is an additional element for people who have some savings. This is currently worth up to £18.54 a week for single people and up to £23.73 for couples.

Make sure you claim this if you're entitled to it – the Government estimates that 1.8 million people currently don't. The Savings Credit element is due to be scrapped in 2017.

If you think you might be eligible for Pension Credit, then you can get an estimate from GOV.UK's Pension Credit calculator.

Note that if you've not reached the Pension Credit qualifying age (60), you should enter 1st January 1950 as your date of birth.

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