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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Linda Howard & Abbie Meehan

Five ways people can boost State Pension payments before and after reaching retirement age

The newest report from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shown that there are almost 12.5 million people across the UK receiving State Pension payments.

This figure includes 1.1 million people living abroad and 992,052 living in Scotland, reports the Daily Record. Out of the overall total, there are 10.1 million pensioners receiving Basic State Pension payments of up to £141.85 a week.

This is comparative to the 2.4 million people receiving New State Pension payments, which are worth up to £185.15 per week. Concerningly, there are over 1.8 million people receiving less than £100 a week in State Pension payments - and just under 1.4 million of these claimants are women.

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Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, has warned that at least some of those on the lowest State Pension payments could be missing out on a DWP benefit worth over £3,500 annually.

This benefit is worth up to £3,500 in financial support, discounts and other benefits which could increase their overall income. Helen explained: "The new State Pension has done much to boost the financial resilience of women in retirement and close the gap with men. This is great news but the comparison between what women receive on the new and basic rate pension systems is stark - on average more than £18 per week.

“We also forget that many people do not receive anywhere near the full amount of State Pension and there are currently 1.8m people receiving less than £100 per week. Again, the vast majority of these are women who have accrued large gaps in their National Insurance contribution history due to time taken away from the workforce to care for family.”

She added: “Many of these people may well have other sources of income to see them through retirement but for those who don’t, life can be a real financial struggle.”

Below are the current State Pension payment rates.

State Pension rates for 2023/24

Full New State Pension

You are eligible for the New State Pension if you are:

  • a man born on or after April 6, 1951
  • a woman born on or after April 6, 1953

New State Pension payment rates

  • Weekly rate: £203.85, an increase of £18.70 from £185.15
  • Monthly rate: £815.40, an increase of £74.80 from £740.60

Basic State Pension (Category A or B)

You are eligible for the Basic State Pension if you are:

  • a man born before April 6, 1951
  • a woman born before April 6, 1953

Basic State Pension payment rates

This benefit is worth up to £3,500 in financial support, discounts and other benefits. (Getty)
  • Weekly rate: £156.20, an increase of £14.35 from £141.85
  • Monthly rate: £624.80, an increase of £57.40 from £567.40

And now, Helen Morrissey shares her top five tips to help increase your finances before and after you reach State Pension age.

Who can claim Pension Credit?

If you are over the official State Pension age and are on a low income, then you should be checking if you are entitled to Pension Credit. The GOV.UK website has a calculator to help check this.

Pension Credit tops up people's weekly income to £182.60 if you are single, and £278.70 in joint income if you have a partner.

The benefit can also entitle you to other benefits and discounts, like a free TV licence for those aged over 75, and Council Tax discounts.

How to check your State Pension forecast

You can also go online and check your current State Pension entitlement on the GOV.UK website.

This will also tell you your State Pension age - when you can officially retire and start collecting payments.

Claim Child Benefit

Many people, women in particular, tend to miss out on valuable State Pension credits when they are at home looking after children. However, if they begin to claim Child Benefit, then the claimants will receive National Insurance credits that count towards their State Pension.

Many women have missed out on this in the past because their husband claimed the Child Benefit rather than themselves.

If you claim Child Benefit in your name, then you will get the National Insurance credit towards your State Pension.

Specified Adult Childcare Credit

If you are under State Pension age and are looking after a family member under the age of 12 while their parent or main carer is at work, then you could be entitled to another benefit.

You could qualify for National Insurance credits under Specified Adult Childcare Credit as the working parent essentially transfers their NI credit to you.

There are other situations where you are receiving benefits and you can still claim National Insurance credits. For example, if you are off work sick on Statutory Sick Pay. It is always worth checking to see if you may be entitled.

Buy National Insurance credits

If you can spare the pennies, then you can also clear up gaps in your National Insurance record by buying voluntary class 3 NI contributions.

Buying a full year is pricey at around £800, but it’s worth checking with DWP before you do so to make sure you will benefit from the extra contributions.


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