What is the State Pension?

What is the State Pension?

Most UK residents are entitled to a State Pension once they have retired. Yet what exactly is the State Pension? If you aren’t familiar with this or need some confirmation that you fully understand it, keep reading. This guide will answer the question, as well as explain other basics relating to the UK State Pension.

What is the State Pension?

The government provides a State Pension to individuals when they retire from work. This pension, which is supplied as a consistent, regular payment, is designed to ensure people are able to live comfortably in retirement.

Not everyone receives the same amount for their State Pension. There are various factors that can affect the pension rate you obtain, including the amount of National Insurance paid, how long you have lived in the UK, and your age.

Who is eligible?

All UK residents are eligible, however, you will only qualify for this pension if you have made a certain number of National Insurance contributions. To be eligible, you have to contribute to National Insurance for at least ten years.

However, ten years will only give you the minimum pension – the maximum is achieved after 35 “qualifying” years.

How much is the State Pension?

As mentioned, there are different factors that determine how much you will receive. At the time of writing, the full State Pension currently sits at £179.60 per week.

However, this drops significantly for those that only qualify for the minimum pension. Right now, a person would receive £52.90 each week. In this case, a person would have to supplement their State Pension significantly to live comfortably.

How are the benefits calculated?

With the varying State Pension amount, it shouldn’t be a surprise there are various elements that enter the equation. The main element, of course, is the number of qualifying years with your National Insurance contributions. 35 qualifying years will result in the maximum payout.

If you are interested in calculating your State pension, this is possible with the State Pension Forecast tool offered by the government. Answer a few easy questions, and it will reveal how much you’re estimated to receive.

Qualifying years for the State Pension

Now you might be wondering what is defined as a “qualifying” year for the State Pension. A qualifying year is counted as one of the following:

  • You are an employee, and National Insurance contributions are made through your employer.
  • You pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions as a self-employed person.
  • You make National Insurance contributions voluntarily.
  • You are the recipient of National Insurance credits. This could be if you’re a carer or unemployed.

Pension age and State Pension age

You cannot gain access to the State Pension until you reach a certain age. For both men and women, you can begin claiming the pension once you are 66 years old. However, that age will increase in the future.

From 2028, the age is planned to increase to 67. This will then go to 68 from 2039, and it is likely further age increases will be made beyond that date.

Supplementing retirement income with Pension Credit

While the State Pension is a welcome addition to your retirement income, it will typically not be enough on its own for you to live comfortably. This is why it is advised to supplement your retirement income with Pension Credit. These credits are tax-free pension benefits that can boost your pension pot. If you want to guarantee comfort and a good quality of life after retirement, supplementing is the best thing you can do.


The State pension is straightforward and easy to attain for UK residents. As long as you have been making National Insurance contributions for a number of years, you don’t have to do anything extra to receive this pension once you reach retirement age.


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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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