Rishi Sunak grilled by Neil on state pension increases
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State Pension payments prove a lifeline for many older people who are leaving the workforce for retirement. Although the payment is now coming to be viewed as a “safety net”, many are still reliant upon a regular sum to help them through later life. As a result, Britons will be counting on a sum of a sizeable amount to provide them with the support they need.
However, a state pension is not an automatic guarantee, it should be noted.
This is because it is based on the amount of National Insurance contributions a person puts forward throughout their lifetime.
By the time a person reaches state pension age, they will need to have a qualifying number of NI contributions to get a sum from the Government.
To provide further clarity, the Government’s website has issued an explanation.
State pension warning: National Insurance record will affect what sum you receive (Image: Getty)
The new state pension, it says, is currently £179.60 per week – but this is the full sum.
If a person wishes to gain the full amount, they will need to have at least 35 qualifying years of National Insurance under their belt.
If someone wants any state pension at all, they usually need 10 qualifying years on their record.
Some may get more or less than this, such as if they were contracted out, and the Government website explains this in further detail.
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But many will be asking what a “qualifying” year is deemed as by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The circumstances differ, depending on whether a person is working or not.
When someone is employed, a qualifying year will be if:
- They are employed and earning over £184 per week from one employer
- They are self-employed and paying National Insurance contributions
Individuals who are not working may still be able to get National Insurance credits.
State Pension UK: What is State Pension? (Image: EXPRESS)
This could be the case if they cannot work, for example due to illness or disability, or if they are a carer, or unemployed.
National Insurance credits can be claimed in a number of circumstances, including for Child Benefit.
Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Carer’s Allowance also all provide Britons with the chance to get National Insurance credits.
If a person does not fall into any of these groups, there still may be a chance for them to increase their state pension amount.
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Certain individuals may be able to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions to close the gaps in their record.
Britons can usually only pay for gaps in their NI record from the past six years.
They can check their eligibility to do so via the Government’s website.
The Government also advises Britons to make use of the state pension forecast tool.
Here, individuals will be able to find out how much state pension they could get, when they could get it, and how to increase it if at all possible.