New state pension starts todayWhich? answers your key questions
06 April 2016
The new state pension comes into force today after years of discussion.
In our short video, a Which? Money pensions expert explains the key changes to the state pension.
Which? then answers some of your questions about the fundamental changes to the state-provided pension, which will impact how much millions of us receive in retirement.
Video guide: State pension changes explained
What’s happening with the state pension?
Today heralds the arrival of the new single-tier state pension with the replacement of the old system of basic state pension plus additional state pension.
The full level of new state pension has been set at £155.65 for the next year, but only around half of those qualifying over the next year will get the full amount.
The government is attempting to control costs, as the number of people reaching state pension age is set to increase from 410,000 in 2016/17 to 820,000 by 2029.
Find out more: What's happening to the state pension in 2016? - our comprehensive guide
Will the changes affect all pensioners?
If you have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, the changes to the state pension will not affect you.
For these pensioners, the basic state pension will be worth £119.30 a week for a single person in 2016/17.
They may also be getting some additional state pension, which will mean they’ll get more than £119.30 per week.
Find out more: State pension age calculator - calculate your state pension age
Will everyone get the full amount?
No – the number of years of full National Insurance (NI) contributions will go a long way to determine what you’ll get.
You’ll need to have paid in 35 years of National Insurance contributions to get the full amount. Many people will have clocked up less than 35 years of NI contributions because of gaps in their working record.
If you have fewer years of contributions, you’ll get a proportionate amount, but no pension at all if less than 10 years.
Find out more: How National Insurance works - our explainer guide
What if I’ve been contracted out for a while?
Even with 35 years of contributions, you may have contracted out some of your NI contributions to private pension schemes and will therefore get less than the full level of new state pension (£155.65).
Working out how much you’ll be deducted is complicated, but broadly depends on when you were contracted out, for how long and your earnings at the time.
Find out more: Contracting out explained - the key information
Are there clear winners and losers with the new system?
The new system will favour those with lots of qualifying years or credits, but little additional state pension, in the early period.
Women who’ve raised a family will no longer inherit a state pension based on their husband's NI record.
This is different to the old system, which allows some people to claim a state pension based on their husband, wife or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions.
Find out more: Winners and losers under the new state pension - see who will benefit most
How can I get an estimate of what I’ll get?
The only way to get a forecast of your state pension is via the Department for Work and Pensions.
The forecast will tell you your retirement date and give an estimate of what you will get based on your National Insurance contributions.
You can apply for a state pension statement over the phone or online at gov.uk/check-state-pension.