State Pension: Does everyone get a State Pension? Who is excluded?

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The State Pension is paid to people once they have reached State Pension age. While some people depend on it as their main source of income when they are older, others use their State Pension payments alongside other pension payments or income.

Does everyone get a State Pension?

In the UK, the State Pension is not automatically given to everyone in their old age.

Once someone has reached their State Pension age, they are usually entitled to a State Pension.

But someone of State Pension age must also have a sufficient number of qualifying years on their National Insurance record to get the payments.

The number of qualifying years someone has on their National Insurance record will influence how much State Pension someone receives every week.

Qualifying years are earned through work or from National Insurance credits, which someone may get if they are a parent, carer or are unemployed, for example.

The Government website explains about the new State Pension: “The State Pension is a regular payment from the government most people can claim when they reach State Pension age. Not everyone gets the same amount.

“How much you get depends on your National Insurance record.

“For many people, the State Pension is only part of their retirement income.

“For example, they may also have money from a workplace pension, other pension and/or earnings.”

To get any new State Pension, a claimant must have at least 10 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions on their record.

The Money Advice Service explains how most people who have less than 10 qualifying years are not normally entitled to the new State Pension at all.

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Their website states: “If you have fewer than 10 years’ worth, you won’t normally qualify for any State Pension.

“However, the 10-year minimum qualifying period does not apply to certain women who paid married women and widow’s reduced-rate National Insurance contributions.”

At least 35 qualifying years are needed for a claimant to get the full new State Pension.

The State Pension is not automatically paid to someone when they reach State Pension age, so people will have to claim it if they want the payments.

Can someone add extra years to their National Insurance record?

If someone wants to add more qualifying years to their National Insurance record, they may be able to make voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Citizens Advice explain: “If you don’t have enough qualifying years to get a full State Pension, you may be able to make up gaps in your National Insurance contribution record by paying voluntary contributions.

“There is a time limit for doing this. You can find out more about voluntary contributions and the time limits for paying them on GOV.UK.”

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