Millions may miss out on full state pension

As many as 39% of women can expect to miss out

Updated: 
B7MF04 A couple looks over their finances together.

More than six million people aged between 40 and 65 could miss out on receiving the full state pension, because they haven't paid in for long enough.

While the average person of this age expects to be in full-time employment for 37 years, 28% will have worked for fewer than 30 years - the minimum needed to receive the full state pension.

As many as 39% of women can expect to find themselves in this position, along with 14% of men. Regionally, the Welsh are worst-affected, at 35%, while only 19% of Londoners face the problem.

"When people plan their retirement finances, many assume that they will be eligible for the full state pension," says Andrew Megson, managing director of retirement for the Partnership Group, which carried out the research.

"However, almost a third have not worked for the 30 years required and if they have not taken any action to ensure they either make voluntary contributions or receive the relevant credits they may well face a nasty shock in retirement."

Calculate your pension income options

Most people that weren't working, the report found, were bringing up children, cited by 38%, sick or unemployed.

People who are unemployed, receiving benefits for a child under 12 or receiving carers allowance are actually eligible for national insurance credits which count toward the state pension.
However, while these are sometimes given automatically, in many cases they need to be applied for, making it easy for people to fall through the cracks if they don't know their rights.

Anyone short of the necessary credits can pay voluntary national insurance contributions to make sure that they receive the full state pension.

"It is vital when planning your retirement finances to ensure that you not only understand how much you will receive as part of the state pension but consider making up the shortfall if at all possible," says Megson.

Calculate your pension income options

The situation will be different for younger people, with the current system changing completely for people retiring after April 2021.

Currently, there's a basic pension of £113.10, going up to £115.95 a week next month. In future, though, people will get between £144 and £155 a week, as l;ong as they have made National Insurance contributions for 35 years and don't opt out of the second state pension.

Proportion of 40-65 year olds who have worked less than 30 years:

Region Percentage Number

London 19% 466,327
South East 26% 774,035
South West 28% 521,757
North East 30% 271,064
North West 32% 775,539
West Midlands 29% 555,203
East Midlands 30% 471,111
Scotland 24% 452,191
Wales 35% 373,832
Yorkshire 22% 393,814
East Anglia 32% 651,680
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