/ Money

Give us early access to our state pension

Coins in clock

I advocated a more flexible approach to retirement in this month’s Which? Money magazine. Now, the International Longevity Centre has made the same call, suggesting early access to state pension for those who want it.

The thinktank wants the government to consider a ‘graduated’ state pension, where we’re able to receive part of our pension before we retire, allowing us to reduce our working hours.

On the face of it, this goes against recent trends. The minimum age you can claim state pension is going up each year for women and will rise for both men and women, from 65 to 66, in October 2020. After that it’s due to go up again, to 67 and then 68.

The age you retire should be a matter of choice

When the government abolished the default retirement age earlier this year, the Department for Work and Pensions said this meant ‘you should be able to retire when the time is right for you’. That’s great for those who don’t want to stop at 65, but what about those who do?

Not everyone fancies carrying on in full-time employment until they are that old, or even older. Some of us might prefer to work for a few days less, to semi-retire, to cultivate a hobby or downsize in readiness for full retirement. If you can’t draw your pension until you’re 66 or 67 these prospects seem pretty remote.

I think it would be fairer to make the state pension age negotiable. You can already put off claiming state pension and get interest on the money you’ve forgone, so why can’t you start drawing from it early as well, in exchange for receiving a little less?

After all, you only need to have made 30 years of National Insurance contributions to qualify for a full state pension, so many of us might feel we’ve already paid our due by the time we reach 55 or 60.

Early access could enable semi-retirement

Interestingly, the Longevity Centre’s study found widespread support for a relaxation of the rules. In fact, in it’s survey of 1,000 adults, over half said they supported the idea of a ‘graduated’ state pension.

Not everyone who favoured early access wanted to stop work altogether however, and the report suggests that ‘gradual retirement may be an important means by which individuals are able to work up to state pension age, rather than retiring early’.

Would you like early access to your state pension in order to semi-retire? Would you be willing to take a lower pension in order to be given this choice? And is the upward trend in pension age inevitable or should we be able to say when we retire?

Vanessa says:
15 March 2016

Not everyone is capable of working until they are 67 due to physical and mental health, this puts pressure on the employer and prevents younger people from getting a job as well as the employee.

Quite true Vanessa but HMG intends to raise the age to around 75 over several decades .A comment in the front page of one newspaper has said an influential government figure would like pensioners to get jobs as Berry PIckers presumably so they can cut the OAP saying -those OAP are getting too much money . Work until you drop Vanessa . You know if they could get away with it there would be no government OAP,s just look at the US . This is what happens in a service industry country .

Keith says:
16 March 2016

My wife had a double mastectomy due to her having the Braca 2 gene. She has also had her lymph glands and ovaries out. Her retirement age has gone up TWICE !!!
She will now be 66years and 4 months old before she qualifies for her state pension !!
IF she survives !!!
What a rotten trick to play on a loyal hard working citizen. If it was an employer doing that, they would be SUED !!!

Carole says:
16 March 2016

My husband lost his battle with cancer ten years ago aged 57 he will therefore not receive a state pension. My health collapsed & I was unable to work but had my IB removed when it became ESA because of (our retirement) savings. I am basically unemployable due to being out of the work arena for so many years but also due to my age & the shortage of jobs in my locality. My state pension age has risen from 60 to 64 1/2 & is now 65 1/2. If I draw my private pensions I will have to pay tax on them as the personal allowance is so low but I still have all the costs of running a 3 bed semi. It is hard enough trying to put your life back together after bereavement without having the stress of moving financial goal posts. I also have a 91 yr old Dad who has now for a number of years needed my increasing assistance. Retirement should be pleasurable not a distressing time.

Elaine says:
16 March 2016

Do they not realise that the longer we have to work, the less jobs there will be for the younger generation. My husband retired last year at the age of 65. I am 60 this year & was looking forward to retiring with him. Now I have to wait until I am 66 when he will be 72. It doesn’t make sense. I have more than my fair share of NI contributions just so they can keep moving the goal post

Worked since 16.
Out of pocket by £42,000 at least for the extra 6 years in respect of the state pension.
Now we discover that even at 66 wont get the full pension!
Insurance policy taken out for illness when the retirement age was 60 do not pay out later that the expected retirement age when taken out (which was 60) so again missing out.
Having to fund a retirement for another 6 years from savings or trying to find work whilst ill as no entitlement to benefits for these years.
Another £45,000 down at least plus inflation of course not factored in.
Thanks caring government!

sue says:
24 April 2016

my husband is 65 in march 2017 is he able to take his state pension earlyas his health is not great

No one has replied sue but I do not think there are any circumstances when the state pension can be taken early. It is not provided from an invested fund but out of current tax and NI contributions from others in work.

Unlike private pension or insurance plans, the state pension scheme does not limit access, or adjust premiums [NI contributions], or the benefits received, on actuarial principles of life expectancy, condition, occupation or lifestyle. It is based purely on the number of contributions made not the aggregate value of them. In consequence there is no flexibility over when one can access the benefits and take an early pension, although it is possible to defer them.

26 April 2016

What I still think is wrong..
we were told by the careers officers when we got our NI number, we would work until we were 60.
we did laugh at that at the age of 15, back in 1972.
To now change all this, they must be breaking the promise.
Our careers officers worked for the government so its a promise broken by law??

I learnt very quickly that careers officers were not fortune tellers or future-proof. In saying “you will work until you are sixty”, did they also promise “at which point you will stop working and take a pension”? Careers officers were actually employed by the local education authority, not the government [civil service] and I think they did a good job in my day [1965]. Parliament is supreme and can override anything [they taught us that at school too].

Jackie says:
18 May 2016

I have had to take early retirement after an accident and a fracture to the lower part of my spine left me with constant neuropathic pain. I am unable to sit and walking is difficult. I have all sorts of other problems which are pelvic related and my drugs leave me feeling exhausted. In short, I am completely unable to work. I had to use my savings to pay off my mortgage and I have a very small work pension. I do receive a disability allowance but all of this and more has gone on medical expenses over the past three years. It would seem sensible and fair to me that those of us in this kind of condition are allowed access to our state pension early even if it is reduced to cover the potential extra number of years. And for those people with an in curable condition who have been given only a short period to live, it would seem fair to me that they are given their full pension based on the number of years they have paid in for the time they have left. But how do you get anyone in the right places to listen to this?

Denise Walker says:
22 May 2016

My wife has had to retire due to her medical condition, loosing a salary and a tied cottage! She was born in Dec 1954, which means she missed out on claiming her state pension at 60 and now has to wait until she is 66.
Surely the system should be made flexible enough to look at personal circumstances such as this and pay the state pension in such cases!

The state pension is not constructed in the same way as private pensions. No pot of money is built up. Your pension is paid out of revenue from tax and NI. So their is no method of accessing a fund early – no fund exists. Other benefits may be available however.

AD 247 says:
28 May 2016

I am 55 and have just seen my pension age move further away. I’ve already paid 39 years NI contributions. Retiring at 67/68 may be ok, if you have had an office job all your life, but some with physical jobs will be burnt out by then. Make it flexible I say.

thomas emmins says:
19 September 2016

hi i was born july 09-07-1957 please can anyone help me to find out if i can retire at 60 as i have just had a cancer op its all ok now i do not no what to do thanks very much yours thomas emmins

celia says:
17 October 2016

who wats to work till they are 66?

elaine says:
20 October 2016

i am 62 and have to wait till 66 im struggling at work in my cleaning job I have various ailments and pain people like me should retire now on full state pension I could end up on the sick and get more than statye pension government should look at this more clearly

Where is the extra money to come from? It will need to be taken from other places where our taxes are spent. Perhaps from those public service salary related pensions that can be much higher and drain taxes – time for more equality in pensions perhaps?

Pat says:
30 March 2017

I am 59 this year and do not get my state pension until I am 66. I have MS and I am finding that I am struggling more and more at work (and generally). I would very much like to take my state pension earlier even if it meant I took a little less. I would have done all I could to keep in work until I was 60 but I know that I will not be able to manage another 6 years past that. It may result in my having to claim ESA at some point but I would rather have gone down the retirement route.

Charlie says:
21 October 2017

The problem is that since around 2000; consecutive governments have over borrowed, wasted and given our money away. There is no money (Liam Byrne . 2010)
My bridging pension ends at age 65 but no state pension until 66 now. So far my MP has failed to tell me where almost half of my small pension will be made up. Sounds like this has not been thought out.
However, I find the notion of Waspi women divisive. State pension for all at 65 is what we should be united with!

chris says:
29 October 2017

giving us our state pension early would give the young generation achance ofwork and of the dole

Tara says:
24 January 2018

I agree,I have 40 years of working and can’t get state pension until I am 66.What makes it nonsense and annoying is the head of work and pensions has retired before this.I have been told I am fit for work but the work is limited for me as I have arthritis and sciatica.I am lucky to have savings to live on but obviously going down very fast.I think this government are hoping we die before pension age.Don’t do as I do,do as I say,don’t know how they can sleep at night.

Mrs Gillian Alford says:
4 June 2018

I am disabled and cant get my pension until i am 65 years they also added on 7months and 4days why i dont know, they dont know either but we arehaving to watch the pennies, i think having your pension in stages is great, lets start tomorrow, lol.

Tony Aaron says:
27 November 2018

I have paid my pension for over 30 years the same as most people on here and agree we should be entitled to it early, the government took the money knowing it was for my pension so bleeting that its gone would be embezzlement in any other industry!
I have had a host of back and knee ops done when I had private health care and I now have a part time job and a small private pension to live on, im always worried my boss will “let me go” due to health issues.
Early retirement would be bliss even at reduced pension!

When you get your pension, Tony, it will keep paying out for the rest of your life and be uprated periodically in response to changes in the cost of living. It would have been helpful to know your age now in order to put your point in context.

Your pension is paid for by those in work and paying taxes in the period over which you draw it. It is not paid for out of your historical contributions; they were used to pay pensioners at the time.

Whereas it might be desirable to be entitled to draw your pension early, the consequence would be that it would have to cease early as well – at a time in your life when it would be much more difficult to earn any money to live on.

Thirty years’ contributions will not fund a lifetime pension. The minimum requirement for a full state pension is thirty-five years’contributions and the starting age for paying the pension has had to be rolled back to cope with our generally longer lifetimes.

Julia says:
13 February 2019

I don’t want to cause a riot I just want the following question answered please.

People immigrating to this country, if they are of pensionable age do they receive a state pension? I am just wondering where the £40 odd thousand I have paid in over the years has gone! I have two prolapsed discs and, due to my marriage ending several years ago now, had a nervous breakdown but I still have to work. I brought up three children, pretty much by myself due to the job my ex-husband had, all of whom are now professionals in their own right, all three of them giving back to this country big time and paying 40% tax!! I have worked since I was 16 years of age and am now coming up for 62. I am desperate to retire and, hence, am trying to sell my family home in order to downsize. Yes I am lucky in that respect, but why should my children miss out on a decent inheritance. I have never, ever, received benefits of any kind. Its so unfair.

Does anyone know of any other way to get out of working before we become too old to enjoy a decent retirement !!