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‘I’m an older person: what am I entitled to?’
> ‘Please tell me about state retirement pensions’

I’m going to say straight away that this I'm not going to give a lot of information about State Retirement Pensions.

Here are the reasons:

Fortunately it is fairly easy to get a prediction of how big your state pension will be by asking the government. This is possible because they (normally) have a full record of your work and benefit history.

This information is called a pension statement. It is available via the following link:

You will then be able to:

If you do want to know some basic details of how state retirement pension work, however, read on…

State Retirement Pensions:

icon-warning1.jpg In April 2016 a new state pension was brought in. If you reach pensionable age on or after 6th April 2016 this is the pension you'll get (if you get a pension at all): if you reached pensionable age before this date you'll get the old-style pension.

State Retirement Pension if you reached pensionable age before 6th April 2016

There are three main types of State Retirement Pension:

How much is each pension worth?

State Retirement Pension if you reach pensionable age on or after 6th April 2016

This is normally based on your national insurance contributions (like the old-style category A pension). The basic rate is £164.35. The contribution are a bit stricter than the pre-2016 pension. Just like the old style pension, you may get less if you haven't worked for enough years.

Applying for your State Retirement Pension

You should get a letter from the Pensions Service 4 months before you reach pension age telling you that you will be able to get a state pension soon, but you still need to make a claim - it is not, normally, automatic.

You can start a claim by phoning the Pensions Service 0800 731 7898, or on line, at . You can only claim online if you have received the ‘4 month letter’.

If you are getting some benefits when you reach pension age the claim may be processed automatically without you needing to do anything, but only rely on this if the Pensions Service tells you.

Deferring your State Retirement Pension

Although you might be eager to start getting your pension as soon as possible, you might want to think about putting off claiming your pension (the government call this ‘deferring’ your pension). Perhaps you are still working and are happy to continue for while, for example.

The advantage to this is that if you do put off claiming your pension you will get a larger pension - how much depends, amongst other things, on how long you defer your pension.

However, you do need to be careful. There’s no point in deferring your pension if you getting Pension Credit, or most other income based or contribution based benefits, as the Pensions Service will not increase your pension for any time that you’re getting them. For this, and other reasons, I give the following warning.

icon-warning1.jpgThink very carefully, and seek advice if you can, if you are thinking of deferring your retirement pension.