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One in five Brits don’t know when they get their state pension

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The state pension forms the backbone of many people’s retirement, yet one in five Brits have no clue when they can get it, new research reveals.

Women are more likely to be in the dark than men, with 23 per cent clueless about when they can get hold of their pension compared to just 15 per cent of men.

The survey of 2,000 people for Hargreaves Lansdown found over a third (36 per cent) of people didn’t know how much they could expect to receive from the state pension – including 43 per cent of women.

A quarter (26 per cent) expected between £151-£200 a week in state pension.

The current full new state pension is £179.60 per week while the basic state pension is £137.60 per week.

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: “We don’t know when we’ll get our state pension, or how much we’ll get – which makes planning for retirement almost impossible.

“The state pension age has been on the rise in recent years, which has either passed people by, has left them completely confused, so huge numbers of people have no idea when they might get their pension.”

More younger people are in the dark, with almost half (46 per cent) of 18-24-year olds not knowing their state pension age.

However, over a quarter of people in the 45-54 age group were also confused, which Morrissey said was “concerning” because their plans for retirement “should be much more detailed” by this stage.

To receive the full state pension, you need 35 years’ worth of national insurance contributions and at least 10 years’ worth to get a proportion of the pension.

Morrissey said: “If you don’t know what state pension you’re due to get, it’s vital to check it online. It’s an opportunity to discover whether there any gaps, and to take control of your retirement planning.”

How you can boost your state pension

Go online and check your state pension entitlement on www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.This will also tell you your state pension age.

Claim child benefit – Women in particular miss out on valuable state pension credits when they are at home looking after children. However, if they claim child benefit, they will receive NI credits that count towards their state pension. Many women have missed out on this in the past because their husband claimed the child benefit rather than them. Others missed out when they opted out of child benefit after the introduction of the high-income child benefit tax charge. If you claim child benefit in your name, then you will get the NI credit towards your pension.

Specified Adult Childcare Credit – Are you under state pension age and looking after a family member under the age of 12 while their parent or main carer goes back to work? If this is the case, you could qualify for NI credits under Specified Adult Childcare Credit as the working parent essentially transfers their NI credit to you.

Buy NI credits – If you can spare the cash you can plug gaps in your NI record by buying voluntary class 3 NI contributions. Buying a full extra year for £800 will boost your pension by £4.80 a week, equivalent to about £250 a year and you can typically buy up to six years’ worth.

Claim Pension Credit – If you’re over state pension age and on a low income then you should check whether you are eligible for Pension Credit. Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to £177.10 if you’re single and £270.30 in joint income if you have a partner. It also entitles you to other benefits such as help with council tax and a free TV licence for the over 75s. Despite having the ability to really boost the income of the poorest pensioners take up of this benefit remains stubbornly low with only around 60 per cent of those entitled claiming it.