What is a State Pension? State Pensions | NatWest

State Pension

Everything you need to know about the State Pension

The State Pension is a regular form of income that you receive from the Government once you have reached State Pension age. The amount you receive will be based on your National Insurance contributions. What are the other frequently asked questions?

Who is eligible for a State Pension?

You must have reached State Pension age in order to receive the basic State Pension.


In order to receive the full amount you must have made 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions, or alternatively, if you are unable to work, have received credits for this time, due to reasons such as sickness, unemployment or disability.

What is the State Pension age?

The age at which you reach State Pension age will vary depending on when you were born.


The State Pension age was initially set at 65 for men and 60 for women. However, since 2010 the State Pension age has undergone significant change. The age for women has been steadily rising to match that of men, and by 2018 will also be 65. By October 2020, the age will again rise to 66 for both men and women.

The Pensions Act 2014 also lays out changes to the State Pension age for the future. Between April 2026 and April 2028, the age will rise from 66 to 67. The act also states that the Government will then review the State Pension age every five years. The Pension age is likely to continue to rise in line with increases in life expectancy.

How much is the State Pension?

Currently the most you can receive is £115.95 per week.

The amount increases each year by either 2.5%, or in line with the average percentage growth in wages in the UK or the percentage growth of prices in the UK, depending on which is the highest.

What can I do if I’m not eligible to receive the Full State Pension amount?

If you have not made National Insurance contributions for the requisite number of years in order to claim the full State Pension amount, you may be able to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions instead. In order to do so, you must sit within the eligible criteria. Usually, you are only able to pay for gaps in your record from the past six years.

If you are ineligible to receive the full amount but you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to qualify for an increase in the amount you receive through your partner’s contributions. You will both need to have reached the State Pension age, and your partner must qualify for at least some of the basic pension amount.

How is the State Pension paid?

You will first need to claim for your State Pension as the payment is not automatic. Four months before you reach State Pension age you will receive a letter with details on how to make a claim. You can claim either online, over the phone or by post.

You will be paid at the end of the first full week once you reach State Pension age and, from then, you will be paid every four weeks.


The day on which your pension is paid will depend on the last 2 digits of your National Insurance Number. For example, if your National Insurance number ends in digits between 00-19, you will be paid your State Pension on Monday. If your National Insurance number ends in digits between 20-39, you will be paid your State Pension on Tuesday, and so on.

What happens once I reach State Pension age?

Once you reach State Pension age you can continue to work, however, you will no longer contribute to National Insurance.

If you choose to work, you will still receive your State Pension, however, you can choose to defer claiming it. If you do so, you may be eligible for extra State Pension once you choose to start claiming.  

New State Pension

If you reach State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016, the new State Pension will apply. You will be of State Pension age at this time if you’re born on or after the 6th April 1951 if you are male, and born on or after the 6th April 1953 if you are female.


You’ll need at least 10 years contributing National Insurance via work or credits to receive any State Pension. To receive the full amount, you’ll need to have at least 35 qualifying years or credits.

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