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Hands up if you understand the new state pension

State pension

The new state pension is designed to be simpler, clearer and fairer. But if you know one thing about the state pension, it’s likely to be this: it’s complicated.

The state pension is changing. Anyone reaching state pension age from next Wednesday will do so under a new system. However, our research shows that most people are still in the dark as to what all these changes mean.

High awareness, low understanding

Our latest research found that while two thirds of people approaching the state pension age (50 – 64 year olds) were aware that changes are coming, most were confused about what the new system really meant.

Only one in five knew that from November 2018 the state pension age will be 65 for both men and women. And more than half didn’t know if those who have reached retirement age can top up their state pension or not.

Of those surveyed, four in ten admitted they don’t know what the full rate of the new state pension will be. Given some of the calculations involved, and that not many people will actually get that full amount initially, it’s really not that surprising.

Clearing things up

The new system aims to simplify how much people will receive and when they are eligible to claim the state pension, but there’s no doubt that it’s still complicated.

Given our research findings, it’s clear that more needs to be done to make sure that people understand what these changes are and what they mean for them.

Our guide can take you through these changes to the state pension. And you can get a written statement from the Government showing your estimated state pension.

So, do you know your ‘contracting out’ from your ‘top ups’? What’s the most important change that you think people need to know about?

Are you clear as to what the state pension changes mean for you?

No, not at all (46%, 596 Votes)

Sort of (27%, 359 Votes)

Yes I am (27%, 353 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,308

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I guess I’m one of the “lucky” ones. I’ve already got the min 30 years, although I think I need 35 to qualify for the maximum. It’s just a question of seeing which 5 years will be the cheapest to buy. Why do I think I’m lucky. Well I probably won’t be needing the state pension, as I’ve provided for myself. So the state pension is just a bonus on top ( and yes I know I’ve paid for it too). I just wish Gordon Brown hadn’t moved the goalposts as I would be drawing MY pension by now, rather than having to wait to get hold of it. Mumble Mumble.

Morag Cumming says:
3 April 2016

I’m one of the lucky ones too, but for quite different reasons. I chose to do work that I WANTED to do, work that was very low-paid but that I felt was socially useful in a way that suited my outlook on life, rather than the well-paid work that would have had me bored witless for most of my working life.

I’m also lucky in that though I’m 61, I have a job that I love, working five mornings and four short afternoons. I’m glad I haven’t had to retire yet.

However, it all does mean that I’m going to be struggling financially as a pensioner. I know I’ll get roughly £131 per week state pension since I was one of the ones who foolishly contracted out. We did what we were told was best at the time.

I’m not looking forward to that at all, but the bigger fear is being made redundant before state pension age. With all the cuts to education and the probable academisation of state schools, that’s entirely possible.

Still, I’ve had a lot of friends that have died way too young, so I’m well aware I may not reach pension age. The life I chose means I’ve had a good life. For now, I’m very glad of that.


I was under the impression that because I was born in April 1955, I would not receive my state pension until I am 66. I am totally confused!

Elaine Smith says:
3 April 2016

Alison, sorry you wont receive your state pension until you are 66. Which is wrong in the introduction. No wonder there is confusion. Men and Women pension age is now 66.

Maggie says:
4 April 2016

My sister’s in the same boat – born in February 1957, according to the DWP she won’t get her state pension until she’s 66, in February 2023. If there’s been a change then it isn’t reflected in the DWP pension calculator.

Terry McArdle says:
3 April 2016

The retirement ages and dates have changed a few time over the last few years and I expect the government (who ever they are at the time) will change ages and dates yet again.
One of the most infuriating things ALL governments do is promise something now, but it will not be implemented for up to 2 years.
Just a query, if 35 years worth of contributions entitles you to the £155 (Equal to £4.428 per week worked) state pension, then why do people who have worked for up to 50 or more years not get more ( 50 weeks x £4.429 = £221.40 per week) – just means we are still paying for the people who will not get a job.
Various Governments have instigated “The National Minimum Wage” with has now had a name change (Another ploy by government’s to fool you into think you are getting something better) and is now known as “The National Living Wage” which is currently £7.20 per hour based on a 40 hour week = £288.00 and is considered to be the MINIMUM income required for a person to live on and is £133.00 below the maximum state pension.
Can somebody please explain why I am expected to live on an income of approximately 40% below my pension as my bills have NOT diminished by this amount. (I personally cannot claim any supplements because I have saving a little over the maximum allowed, for such things as our funerals or roof may collapsed or car engine blows up), My Wife is not entitled to the maximum state pension or supplements because of our savings. ( Apparently I get free prescriptions very rarely)
( The following calculation is without the state pension taken into account and just “The National Living Wage” applied.
Even after the statuary 20% tax I have to pay I work after retirement “The National Living Wage is still £230.4 – just slightly higher than my pension if it was paid by the actual number of years worked.)
If I split my employees wages in the same way, it would deemed as ageism and I would be prosecuted

Lynne W says:
3 April 2016

As far as I can see they blunder ahead with changes which they fail to communicate and just don’t understand how these changes can affect people’s lives. I am one of the unlucky women born in the 1950s, I received one letter from the DWP two years before my 60th birthday notifying me that my state pension age was now 66!!

Heather Redhead says:
4 April 2016

Yes, me too. 58 this year and got to wait till 66. Worked most of my life since I was 16 and had a Saturday job!

IEG says:
3 April 2016

Under the old system I would have received a full state pension of £115 starting from next week when I will be 62 years and 2 weeks. However, I now won’t receive the pension until I’m 65 years 6 months and because I have 30 instead of 35 years’ contributions, and because I was also contracted out for a pension (that went bankrupt) I will only receive about £85 based on the new £155 rate. I’m furious about it.