People will need to accrue at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions to claim the new single-tier state pension, Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said today.
Mr Webb confirmed the minimum qualifying period via a written ministerial statement, ahead of the Pensions Bill Second Reading in the House of Lords. It will apply to anyone reaching state pension age after April 2016.
The Department for Work and Pensions had indicated that the qualifying period would be between seven and 10 years.
Mr Webb said: "Putting in place the minimum qualifying period will help ensure that state pension expenditure is targeted at individuals who have made a significant social or economic contribution.
"People can build qualifying years in many ways, for example by paying National Insurance or by receiving credits for a wide range of reasons, including caring for children, caring for others, or being too ill to work."
People with 35 years of National Insurance payments will be entitled to the full state pension of approximately £144 a week, while those with at least 10 years will receive a proportion of the benefit.