The State Pension is just one source of pension to fund your retirement and is not sufficient on its own to meet your requirements after retirement.

Single Tier State Pension

For everyone reaching State Pension Age (SPA) on or after 6 April 2016, you’ll get the new State Pension –currently a maximum of £164.35 per week – if you’re eligible, and:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

The amount may be lower, depending on your National Insurance (NI) record. You’ll usually need 10 qualifying years to get any new State Pension, and to qualify for the full amount you’ll need NI contributions for at least 35 years.

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, then as your State Pension you’ll continue to receive:

  • The Basic State Pension – for those who have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions while at work, or have been credited with enough contributions.
  • Additional State Pension – referred to as the State Second Pension (S2P) and known before 6 April 2002 as the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). From that date, S2P was based upon earnings on which standard rate Class 1 National Insurance contributions had been paid, or were treated as having been paid.

If during any period of your career you were self-employed, you may benefit from taking out a Personal Pension (below): not least because Additional State Pension is not available in respect of any self-employed income. So the time you spent self-employed will decrease the amount you receive through your State Pension.

All pension schemes in the UK now operate under a single system of rules (introduced on 6 April 2006 – ‘A’ Day).

Within these common rules, many different ‘tools’ are available to save towards retirement, and you can learn more in our section on Retirement Planning.


Pensions are a long-term investment. You may get back less than you put in. Pensions can be and are subject to tax and regulatory change therefore the tax treatment of pension benefits can and may change in the future.

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