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State Pension is a payment eligible people can obtain once every four weeks to provide them with vital financial support in later life. To be eligible for a State Pension sum, there are two circumstances which must apply. A person must have reached State Pension age, which is currently in the process of rising from 65 to 66 for both men and women – in a move known as equalisation.
Secondly, a person must have put forward enough National Insurance contributions throughout their lifetime in order to receive the amount.
Under the ‘old’ or basic scheme, a person will need to have contributed a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits.
The new system requires Britons to have at least 10 qualifying years on their record to receive any sum at all.
The government website explains a person will need to have been working and paying National Insurance, getting credits through unemployment, sickness or as a parent or carer, or paying voluntary contributions to obtain the sum.
State Pension is of particular importance to people who have left their working lives, as it provides some form of financial stability.
And pensioners may be reassured to note the government is committed to protecting their sum.
The Triple Lock Mechanism is a system which guarantees the State Pension sum rises annually.
This figure rises by a minimum of either 2.5 percent, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth – whichever is largest of these.
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In the most recent tax year, this sum rose by 3.9 percent, in line with average earnings across the UK.
Before the introduction of Triple Lock in 2011, the State Pension sum rose only in line with a measure of inflation known as the Retail Price Index.
The Triple Lock, however, has come under potential threat in recent months.
As the financial effects of COVID-19 continue to set in, some have suggested scrapping the Triple Lock is the only fair option.
Rumours sprang up in May 2020 that the government could be considering axing the scheme to raise more cash to fund the crisis.
The Triple Lock has previously been criticised for promoting intergenerational unfairness, and its increases which some suggest are unaffordable.
It is estimated the UK spends about £4billion each year on pension upratings, and it has been suggested this money could be better spent levelling out the mounting costs of the pandemic.
However, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently promised the Triple Lock commitment will be protected.
When asked at the Commons Liaison Committee if he would continue to honour the Triple Lock, Mr Johnson said: “We are going to meet all of our manifesto commitments, unless I specifically tell you otherwise.”
On the basic State Pension, the maximum a person can expect to receive is £134.25 per week, if they have 30 years or more in NI contributions.
Those who are claiming the new State Pension sum, however, are required to have a minimum of 10 years in NI contributions, and could receive a maximum of £175.20.
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