State Pension impacts for men and women

In last month’s edition, our article titled: Getting your state pension forecast proved very popular, so we wanted to explore this topical subject further.

For many, the state pension alone will not be enough to fund a comfortable retirement lifestyle, but how much you need is down to each individual. Here we look at the differences in State Pension entitlement for men and women dependent upon age.

Women born before 6 April 1953 and men born before 6 April 1951

If you fall into either of these groups you are not affected by any of the recent changes. Your entitlement includes the basic state pension plus any additional state pension which you are eligible to receive.

You may also be entitled to receive a state pension payment through your spouse or civil partner and there is a helpful online tool available from the Government that can help you calculate any entitlement. Visit it here using this link.

When you reach your state pension age you had the option of delaying it if you didn’t need to receive it immediately. Doing so allows you to take extra state pension, as either a higher weekly payment or as a one off lump sum.

Electing for a higher weekly payment means that you need to defer for at least five weeks. In exchange, your entitlement increases by 1% for every five week period you defer receipt. Care should be taken though as it may impact those in receipt of other state benefits or tax credits.

Alternatively, the one off lump sum option can be chosen by delaying receipt for at least 12 months. The payment would then include interest payable at 2% over the Bank of England base rate.

Until 5 April 2017 it is possible to top up your state pension by up to £25 per week making voluntary National Insurance (NI) contributions. Further details can be found here.

Those who took time off to have children or with lower earnings may find that they have some gaps in their NI record and as a consequence have a reduced state pension entitlement. It is possible to make voluntary contributions to improve the position, but we recommend that you seek financial advice to ensure that it’s the right course of action.

Women born after 6 April 1953 and men born after 6 April 1951

These people will become entitled to the New State Pension scheme, introduced on 6 April 2016.

The amount of pension you’ll receive is again dependent on your National Insurance (NI) record and you’ll need a minimum of 10 qualifying years to receive anything.

If, during any part of your working life you contracted out of the additional state pension, this will reduce your entitlement to the new state pension, because your NI payments would have been lower.

You should also note that the state pension age for women rises to 65 by 2018 (the same as for men). Then, both ages will increase to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028, but the Government are due to review this before 7 May 2017 and any changes must be approved by Parliament. The ‘Waspi’ campaigning group have voiced their concerns over the Government’s lack of communication over this and many in turn have felt unprepared for their retirement. If this is an area of concern, contact us for help on clarifying matters.

Everyone

If, when obtaining your state pension forecast you found that you had some gaps in your record and you’re not sure what action to take, you should seek financial advice to weigh up and consider your options.

Any changes that are made to state pension ages may affect your retirement plans, so it’s important that you regularly review matters to ensure that your income during retirement is at a level with which you are comfortable.

For independent retirement advice, please contact one of our Financial Planning Consultants at any of our office locations on 0808 144 5575.

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