Top-up, anyone? Checking your State Pension

01 February 2019

Retirement for some may seem a while off, but careful planning for the day when you can retire is always important.

We also find that in most instances, retirement income for an individual is achieved through a number of sources. As an example, this combination might be their own pension income, some investment income and normally the State Pension.

For reference, State Pension income is based on an individual's National Insurance (NI) record when they reach State Pension age. In current terms (tax year 2018/19), a full State Pension should provide income of £164.35 gross per week (£8,546 gross pa). The benefit is paid gross, but is taxable and more can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/new-state-pension/what-youll-get

Individuals would normally need at least 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record to receive any new State Pension under the new rules which came into effect on 06 April 2016. A higher State Pension may be payable if you would have been entitled to a certain amount of Additional State Pension under the old rules.

For those without a National Insurance record before 06 April 2016, 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions will be needed in order to receive the full new State Pension.

We are advocates of checking an individual's State Pension entitlement to ensure the maximum benefit will be available and a link to the process to do this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension

If there is a shortfall in your records, it might be possible to top this up, and currently the cost of topping up National Insurance contributions for the tax years 2006/07 to 2015/16 are set at favourable rates.

However, it is important to note that these concessionary rates expire on 05 April 2019, and with this noted, filling in any gaps later on could cost an individual more.

One pension provider, Royal London, has looked at this position further and notes that those considering topping up their State Pension should check that doing so will actually boost their State Pension. This may not always be the case because of transitional rules.

The national press has recently reported on this position and an example of one of these articles can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/19/top-up-your-state-pension-now-to-beat-april-price-increase

Planning for retirement, and leaving as much time as possible to consider your options, is important, and we are able to offer advice, support and help to our clients and enquirers for this topic.

No individual advice is provided during the course of this blog. Talk to the team at Chapters Financial to see how we can help with your financial planning.

Keith Churchouse FPFS

Director

CFP Chartered FCSI

Chartered Financial Planner