State Pension

A state pension on its own will be unable to support a comfortable standard of living, but it is very useful, and therefore you should make sure that you maintain what you're entitled to.

State pension is based on your National Insurance contributions and how much you get varies. In 2011-12 a single person can get up to £102.15 a week basic state pension, although some people get less than this. Many people get more than this amount because they also get an additional state pension. State pension can be claimed as soon as you reach state pension age, but you don't have to claim it straight away. If you delay claiming, you may be able to increase the amount you get. Four months before you reach state pension age, you will receive a letter from The Pension Service which will tell you whether you need to claim your state pension. From April 2011 the basic state pension increased every year by whichever is highest:

  • Earnings – the average percentage increase in the UK wages that year
  • Prices – the percentage the cost of living increases by that year
  • 2.5%

Deferring State Pension

You may decide you’d prefer to defer your state pension, allowing you to earn extra state pension or a single taxable lump sum. When you reach state pension age, you don’t have to stop working or start claiming your state pension. What’s more, you can even stop claiming state pension after having claimed for it for some time. The age at which you retire from employment doesn’t affect when you can start to draw state pension.

Since April 2005, if you put off claiming your state pension, you can choose from the following options when you claim: Extra state pension If you put off claiming your state pension for at least five weeks you can earn an increase to your state pension. The increase is 1% for every five weeks you put off claiming.

Once you claim your state pension, any extra state pension you have built up will usually increase each year. Claiming a lump sum payment If you put off claiming your state pension for 12 consecutive months, you may choose to receive a one-off lump sum payment. Your state pension will also be paid at the normal rate and your delay in claiming must have fallen after 5 April 2005. Be aware; however, you won’t build up any extra state pension or lump sum if you or your partner receives certain social security benefits while you put off claiming your state pension.

State Pension Deferral Process

The Pension Service will send you a letter four months before you reach state pension age. If you have not yet claimed your state pension but you want to put off getting it, you don’t need to do anything. However, you will need to inform The Pension Service about what you want to do if you are already claiming another social security benefit.

If you already claim and would like to defer, you should contact your pension centre – you can find the phone number on any letters you have received.

Living abroad

If you live overseas and haven’t claimed your state pension, you may be able to defer claiming it once your reach state pension age.  

However, you must live in one of the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
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Contact us

You can also request contact details from the Pension Tracing Service by phone or by post.

The Pension Tracing Service
Telephone: 0800 1223 170
From outside the UK: +44 (0) 1782 389134
Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

Address
The Pension Tracing Service
400 Pavilion Road
Northampton
NN4 7PA

Copyright 2020 by Pension Tracing Service ® ​

The Pension Tracing Service ® is a trading style of the Better Retirement Group Ltd. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA number 153420. Our registered office is 400 Pavilion Road Northampton NN4 7PA ​

This service is not affiliated with the Department of Work and Pensions or any government body. The Pension Tracing Service does not offer financial advice to our clients. However we can allocate you an Authorised and Regulated Pension Specialist.

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