Millions of people are confused about how the new state pension will work from April 2016, according to figures published today.
The Aviva Real Retirement Report looked at over-55s’ attitudes to the state pension and the awareness of the major changes happening next year.
Only two in three (65%) respondents were aware of the new single-tier state pension that is launching on 6 April 2016.
Find out more: what’s happening with the state pension in 2016? – our comprehensive guide
State pension confusion
More than one in four (27%) of respondents aged 55-64 said they were completely unaware of the new state pension. This equates to about two million people in the UK. Most of these people will draw their state pension for the first time under the new rules.
More than four in ten (42%) of this age group are unsure if they will receive the full flat-rate payment.
The findings highlight the importance of good communications about the new system. The government has so far issued 500,000 personalised statements to individuals telling them where they stand, while a new version of the state pension statement is being launched in early 2016.
Find out more: how much state pension will I get? – our short video explains
Retirees won’t get new state pension
Older people who qualify for the state pension before 6 April 2016 will continue to receive it under the old system.
However, one in six over-75s (16%) wrongly believe they will receive the full flat-rate state pension, which has a qualifying age of 65 or less for men and 63 or less for women.
A further 26% of over-75s are unsure if they will receive it, despite being at least ten years older than the qualifying age.
Those already claiming the state pension are able to top it up between now and March 2017.
Find out more: how to top up your state pension – learn more about your options
The state pension age is increasing
There is also limited awareness that the state pension age is rising over time, especially among those who are potentially most affected.
By 2018, it will be 65 for both men and women, increasing to 66 in 2020 and to 67 in 2028.
Just 57% of over-55s are aware of this policy, with 28% unaware and the rest unsure.
Awareness is lowest among 55-64s (51%). One in three (34%) of this age group are completely unaware of this change despite its potential to extend their working lives.
Find out more: state pension age calculator – work out your state pension age