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What is the UK State Pension

The State Pension in the UK is a regular payment from the government that individuals receive when they reach the State Pension age that is currently set at 66(as of 2023/2024). This pension is intended to ensure a secure and basic income for people in their retirement years.


To be eligible for the State Pension, you must have paid or been credited with National Insurance contributions and the amount you receive depends on your National Insurance record.

It is also important to note that you don’t get the State Pension automatically; you have to claim it. HMRC will typically write to you 4-6 months before you are due to reach state pension age, reminding you to claim your State Pension online, over the phone, or by post.

Types of State Pension

There are two types of state pension, and the date at which an individual reaches state pension age will determine which one they are entitled to.

  • Basic State Pension | The full ammount given for the basic state pension is £8,112.40 per year(as of 2023/2024)
    • The Basic State Pension applies to individuals who reached their State Pension age before 6 April 2016:
    • Men born before 6 April 1951 and women born before 6 April 1953 are eligible.
    • You need a minimum of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to get the full Basic State Pension.
    • If you have fewer than 30 qualifying years, your Basic State Pension will be less than the full amount but you might still get something.
  • New State Pension | The full ammount given for the new state pension is £10,600.20 per year(as of 2023/2024)
    • The New State Pension is for individuals reaching their State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016:
    • You need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to receive any New State Pension.
    • You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the full New State Pension.
    • If you have between 10 and 35 qualifying years, you’ll receive a proportion of the pension.

Qualifying Years | A qualifying year is a tax year in which you have enough earnings on which you’ve paid National Insurance contributions, or you’ve received National Insurance credits, for example, if you were unemployed, ill, a parent, or a carer.

Buy missing NI Years

You can check your National Insurance record and your State Pension forecast online to see how many qualifying years you have and how much State Pension you may get.

In some cases, you can pay voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions to fill gaps in your record and increase your State Pension.

  • Why make Class 3 Contributions
    • Enhancing State Pension: Making Class 3 contributions can be beneficial if you have gaps in your NI record that could affect your eligibility for the full State Pension.
    • Filling Gaps: These contributions are useful for years you weren’t working, didn’t earn enough to pay National Insurance, or weren’t paying NI for another reason.
  • Eligibility for Class 3 Contributions
    • You can usually only pay for gaps in your NI record from the past six years.
    • There are certain age restrictions, typically related to being within a specific number of years from your State Pension age.
  • Cost and Payment
    • The cost of Class 3 contributions varies each year. For the 2023/2024 tax year it is £907.40 for each year purchased
    • Payments can usually be made by Direct Debit, bank transfer, or cheque.
  • Benefits vs. Costs
    • Before paying voluntary contributions, it’s crucial to consider whether the increase in State Pension you’ll get is worth more than the cost of filling the gaps.
    • In some cases, paying Class 3 contributions might not increase your State Pension.
  • How to Proceed
    • Check Your NI Record: Review your National Insurance record to identify any gaps.
    • State Pension Forecast: Use the State Pension forecast service to understand how any additional contributions will affect your pension.
    • Seek Advice: Book an appointment will Rotherwood Insurance Consultants to assess if making these contributions is beneficial in your case.

Deferring the State Pension

You can delay (defer) taking your State Pension, which may increase the amount you receive later.

Working after State Pension age

You can still work after you reach State Pension age. Working while receiving the State Pension doesn’t affect your pension, but it may have tax implications.


The State Pension is a crucial part of retirement planning in the UK. Understanding how it works, how much you could get, and when you can claim it is essential for financial planning in your later years. If you wish to book an appointment with us at Rotherwood to discuss any financial planning questions you may have, please complete the below information or call us on 01306 742747.

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