The State Pension - a beginner's guide to calculating

The State Pension - a beginner's guide to calculating

The government-provided State Pension is an important element of your retirement savings. This beginner’s guide will detail how to calculate your State pension, along with the key factors – such as your retirement age and National Insurance contributions – that determine your pension amount.

Understanding retirement age

The UK’s current retirement age plays a significant role in how the State Pension functions. This is because you don’t start receiving this pension until you reach a certain age. For both men and women, the retirement age is currently set at 66.

Yet the age when people can begin to claim the State Pension is scheduled to rise. By 2028, it is planned to increase to 67. From 2039, it will go up to 68. The State pensionable age will likely continue to go up in the future.

National Insurance contributions

National Insurance contributions are the main factor that determines the State Pension amount you receive – if any.

For a UK resident to be eligible for the State Pension, they must have made at least ten years of National Insurance contributions. However, even if someone reaches that ten-year threshold, this doesn’t make them eligible for the full State Pension.

This is because a person has to make 35 years of eligible contributions to qualify for a full National Insurance record. Anything below this is regarded as an incomplete record, and that has a negative impact on how much State Pension they will receive.

For instance, the minimum State Pension – achieved with ten years of National Insurance contributions – is currently £52.90 per week. The full State Pension, on the other hand, is £179.60 per week.

State Pension Forecast

The State Pension Forecast is a handy tool that is provided by the UK government. With the tool, you are asked a few simple questions pertaining to your State Pension, and your answers will formulate your pension forecast.

You can find the tool by visiting the following link:

It is important to not just check your pension forecast one time. It is a task you should do on a frequent basis. By doing so, you ensure you remain on track with your retirement goals.

Additional pension

If you feel the State Pension is not enough, there are ways to increase the amount you are scheduled to receive.

One way of doing this is deferring – aka delaying – your pension. The longer you delay claiming your State Pension, the bigger your weekly payments could become. All you have to do is defer for five weeks at a minimum for this to take action. For every five weeks you defer, your State Pension will increase by approximately 1%.

Another method is to claim additional pension. This is possible if you opt to make contributions to a specific State Pension scheme. To see if you qualify for additional State Pension, you can find out more information by visiting the following link:

Basic State Pension

The “basic” State Pension is a previous version of the current full State Pension. You will receive the basic State Pension depending on when you were born.

For a man that was born prior to 6 April 1951, they will receive the basic State Pension. This is extended to 6 April 1953 for a woman. The basic State Pension provides the recipient with a maximum of £137.60 each week.

However, the State Pension’s value will continually improve to safeguard its value against the cost of living increases. Each year, the State Pension will increase by 2.5%, at the rate of inflation or based on average earnings growth – whichever one is higher.


Calculating your State Pension is ultimately down to three main points: your age, date of birth, and National Insurance contributions. With the State Pension Forecast tool, you can easily check your current pension standing.


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The content of this article is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or taxation advice. You should not rely on the information contained in this article as legal, financial or taxation advice. The content of this article is based on information currently available to us, and the current laws in force in the UK. The content does not take account of individual circumstances and may not reflect recent changes in the law since the date it was created. It is essential that detailed financial and tax advice should be sought in both jurisdictions and any legal advice, if required.

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