Millions of people may be saving for their retirement on wrong information after ‘bungling’ by the government, MPs have warned.
Poor state pension communication
A new report from the cross-party Work and Pensions Committee suggests that details sent out in state pension statements were ‘inadequate’ and ‘confusing’.
The documents should clearly declare the current value of state pension built up, the age at which people will be eligible to receive the income, and how they can build up extra entitlement.
Yet, the committee feels the statements could be improved, with information on a single page and key messages highlighted in boxes to ensure they stand out clearly.
The warnings were published in an interim report on the new state pension, which replaces the basic and additional state pensions from April 2016.
MPs said the situation was so ‘urgent’ that they could not wait for the full inquiry to be completed before speaking out.
Find out more: what’s happening with the state pension in 2016? – learn how you’ll be affected
Women unaware of state pension age increases
MPs are concerned that women haven’t been fully informed about increases in their state pension age.
The report cites the example of one woman who in 2012 (two years before her 60th birthday and what she thought was her pension age) received a letter saying she was not entitled to the state pension until she turned 66.
Women are particularly vulnerable to problems as their retirement ages are being brought into line with those of men and can be different for two women born in the same year.
Find out more: state pension age calculator – see when you’ll qualify for the state pension
Five key changes to the state pension
Those qualifying for the state pension after 6 April 2016 will fall under the new system. Here are a few key changes to the state pension you might not know about:
- The basic and additional state pensions are going to be replaced by a flat-rate, single-tier state pension with a full level of £155.65 in April 2016 – see how much will I get under the new state pension?
- You might get more or less than the full level. You can get a state pension statement from the Department for Work and Pensions to give you an indication of your starting amount.
- The additional pension and ‘contracting out’ will be abolished. Qualifying National Insurance years will also increase from 30 to 35 years – watch our state pension video for full details.
- Those already qualified for the state pension can top it up between now and March 2017 – see can I top up my state pension?
- The state pension age is increasing. For both men and women, it will reach 65 by November 2018. From December 2018, the state pension age will rise for both men and women, until it reaches 66 in April 2020 and 67 between 2026 and 2028 – use our state pension age calculator to see when you’ll qualify for it.