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Government to write to 100,000 who won’t qualify for new state pension

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The government is to write to more than 100,000 people who will not meet the minimum criteria for the new state pension after concerns were raised that changes were poorly communicated to the general public.

Under rules introduced in April 2016, retirees need a minimum of 10 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions to receive any state pension. To get the full amount, they will need 35 years of contributions, up from the previous 30 years.

In a report published in March, the Work and Pensions Committee found widespread confusion over the impact of the new state pension, just weeks before its introduction, with many people left “unprepared and confused”.

Following the Committee’s recommendation, the government has agreed to write directly to those people who do not meet the new state pension criteria.

Frank Field MP, chair of the Committee, said: “The committee has encountered untold confusion among people who wanted to know the value of their state pension, and who had received little or no communication from the government. It looks as though the government will begin to apply the lessons from our evidence, by writing to people who do not meet the minimum criteria for the new state pension. We very much welcome this initiative.”

Pension provider Aegon also welcomed the move but said the government should go further to help people prepare for retirement.

“We urge the government to write directly to every individual to provide them with an estimate of what state pension they are on target to receive. This should then be updated periodically,” said Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon.

“Our research shows that millions of individuals have no clear understanding of how much or how little they may receive as a state pension. While people can now request a projection, the majority will not think of doing so. Sending out individual personalised state pension forecasts would mean individuals could look at these alongside their private pension forecasts, take stock of whether they are doing enough for the retirement they aspire to, and if not take early action.”

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