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Sunday, 30 October 2011

State Pension and Pension Credit rate: how much can you get?

There are different types of State Pension and the rate you get depends on your circumstances. Your eligibility for Pension Credit also depends on your personal situation. Find out how much State Pension you can get and what the rate for Pension Credit is in 2011-2012.

Basic State Pension – what is the rate?

The following table gives a simple overview of the maximum basic State Pension you can get.

Circumstances Basic State Pension rate per week, for 2011-12
Single man or woman  £102.15
Married man or woman or civil partner (who qualify with their own National Insurance contributions)  £102.15
Married man, woman or civil partner (using his wife’s, her husband’s or their civil partner’s National Insurance contributions record)  £61.20

How do I qualify for a basic State Pension?

Your basic State Pension is based on the number of qualifying years you have built up from National Insurance contributions.

To find out more about qualifying for the basic State Pension, see ‘Qualifying for a basic State Pension’.

How much basic State Pension have I got so far?

Use the State Pension profiler tool to work out how much basic State Pension you may have built up to date.

How is the State Pension rate increased each year?

Until April 2011, the basic State Pension was increased in line with the growth in prices.

From April 2011, basic State Pension increases every year by whichever of the following is the highest

  • earnings – the average percentage increase in UK wages that year
  • prices – the percentage the cost of living increases by that year
  • 2.5 per cent

For 2011-12 the basic State Pension will be increased by the Retail Prices Index for September 2010.

The basic State Pension will rise each year by the highest percentage.

Additional State Pension – what is the rate?

The additional State Pension is sometimes also known as SERPS or the State Second Pension (S2P).

Not everyone can get an additional State Pension and how much you can get depends on your earnings.

See ‘Additional State Pension’ to find out more.

How is the additional State Pension rate increased each year?

Additional parts of the State Pension normally rise in line with the increase in prices. These include:

  • the State Second Pension (S2P)
  • the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS)
  • Graduated Retirement Benefit
  • Extra State Pension received for deferring or putting off (deferring) your State Pension claim (also called ‘increments’)

Until you reach State Pension age, the S2P or SERPS you have built up will usually increase in line with the growth in average earnings. This is also known as ‘revaluation’.

Over 80 Pension – what is the rate?

The Over 80 Pension is a State Pension that is available if you are aged over 80 and have little or no State Pension.

The rate is £61.20 a week, for each person, for 2011-12, if you don’t get a basic State Pension. It will also top up your income to £61.20 if you’re on a reduced State Pension.

To find out more, see ‘The Over 80 Pension’.

Pension Credit – what is the rate?

If you are a pensioner living in Great Britain, in 2011-12, Pension Credit could top up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum of:

  • £137.35 if you are single
  • £209.70 if you have a partner

If you are aged over 65 you may also be able to get up to an additional:

  • £20.52 a week if you are single
  • £27.09 a week if you have a partner

To find out if you might be eligible for Pension Credit see ‘Pension Credit – introduction’.

The age from which you can get Pension Credit is gradually increasing to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020. If you want to know at what age you might be able to claim Pension Credit, see 'Calculating your State Pension age'.

How is the Pension Credit rate increased each year?

The Guarantee Credit is usually increased in line with the growth in average UK earnings.

In April 2011 it will rise by at least the same cash amount as the full basic State Pension.

How price inflation is measured

From April 2011 the government will use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the measure of prices.

This will change how much most benefits and pensions will increase each year.

The basic State Pension will increase by at least the equivalent of the Retal Prices Index (RPI) in April 2011. This is to make sure its value is at least as generous as under previous rules.

The CPI and the RPI are used by the government and economists to work out how much prices increase each year.

Company and personal pensions – what is the rate?

To find out how much personal pension you can get, see ‘Understanding personal pensions’ .

To find out how much company pension you can get, see ‘Options when you take your company pension’.

Tell The Pension Service about a change in your circumstances

Find out what you need to report, such as a change of address or bank details.

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