Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes
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State pension payments are dependent on when a person was born and their National Insurance record. This means, even as the DWP confirms increases across the board, there will be variation in what pensioners receive from the state.
State pension forecast
Fortunately, the Government provides a free-to-use state pension forecast tool on its website. This is important to note as new retirees qualify for the state pension every year as they hit their qualifying retirement age.
The state pension forecast tool allows users to find out how much state pension they could get, when they can claim it and how it can possibly be increased. The service cannot be used by those who are already getting their state pension or have deferred their claim.
To use the tool, people will need to log in with their Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify account and follow the steps. Applying online is the quickest way to get a forecast, but there are other methods available to Britons.
If a person reaches their state pension age in more than 30 days, they can also fill in the BR19 application form and send it by post, or call the Future Pension Centre who will post the forecast to them.
Under the new state pension rules, a person will reach their state pension age on their 66th birthday. Additionally, to be eligible for the state pension, a claimant will need to have at least 10 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions under their belt.
To receive the full state pension of £179.60 per week, at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions will be needed. Payments will vary from person to person if they have between 10 and 35 years of contributions.
In November, the DWP confirmed state pension payments across the spectrum will be rising in April 2022. Thérèse Coffey confirmed from April 11, 2022 pensions and benefits would rise in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), meaning the full basic state pension will increase to £141.85 per week and the full rate of new state pension will increase to £185.1 a week.
It should be noted initial state pension payments may only include part of what’s due before a full first payment. Following this initial payment, income will be paid once every four weeks.
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How to claim a state pension
State pensions are not paid automatically, they will need to be claimed even when a person reaches their state pension age. Claimants should get a letter from the DWP up to two months before they reach their state pension age, telling them what to do.
However, even if a retiree has not received this letter, they can make a claim for their state pension up to four months before reaching their retirement age.
The quickest way to do this is by going online to the Government’s website. State pensions can also be claimed by phoning the Pension Service or through the post.
Where people reach their retirement age but want to keep on working, it is possible to still claim a state pension. However, deferring a claim is also possible and if this is done for a certain amount of time, it could also boost payments.
State pension deferrals
Where claimants defer for at least nine weeks, their payments will increase. A state pension will increase by the equivalent of one percent for every nine weeks of deferral.
This works out as just under 5.8 percent for every 52 weeks of deferral. This is important to note as deferrals can increase state pensions beyond even the “full” amount.
If a person has deferred their state pension for a year or less, they can apply for their payments online. It is also possible to claim a deferred pension through the post or by calling the Pension Service.
Any extra payments from a deferral are paid with a regular state pension. It is also important to note extra payments may face additional tax costs.
Those who are on a low income in retirement may also be able to benefit from Pension Credit, which is also set to increase by 3.1 percent in the coming months. Pension Credit tops up income levels for those who may be struggling in retirement.
To be eligible for Pension Credit, claimants must be living in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached their state pension age.Pension Credit will top up weekly income to £177.10 for those who are single.
Income will be boosted to £270.30 for partnered claimants. If claimants are earning more than these levels, they may still qualify if they have a disability, care for someone, have savings or have housing costs.
Additionally, those with severe disabilities, caring obligations or young children can get boosted payments for specific costs through Pension Credit.
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