BENEFITS EXPERT: Why changes to state pension rules could cause confusion

Q. I’m confused concerning my state pension, I’m 72 and my pension is currently £165/week, some of my friends who are about the same age get a bit more, others get a bit less. I have now read the basic state pension is about £185/week, why am I not getting this amount?

"It can be a complex area of law given how much the system has changed since its inception."
"It can be a complex area of law given how much the system has changed since its inception."

A. Rules relating to state pension have changed several times over the years and can cause confusion over differing amounts.

Firstly the rules relating to the new state pension applies to persons who reach state pension age on or after April 6, 2016, when the new state pension was introduced.

There is a slight difference depending on your gender, men born on or after April 6, 1951 fall under the new regime, women born on or after April 6, 1953 will fall under the new regime.

Those born before these dates fall under the old state pension rules. There is still the usual rules regarding paying National Insurance or getting NI credits so if you haven’t met these conditions you won’t get the full amount.

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People who fell under the old state pension rules will again have to meet the usual NI conditions and typically will qualify for either a Category A, B or D pension. Category D pensions were commonly referred to as a married woman’s pension.

Typically this person wouldn’t have worked or worked but for brief periods and paid little NI. Their husband’s however could pay a slightly higher amount of NI so their wives would get a pension.

Typically these types of pension were less than a Category A or B pension.

There was also the introduction of opting in or out of SERPS (State Earnings Retirement Pension Scheme) in the late 70s.

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This allowed people who paid into either a private pension or occupational pension scheme to pay a reduced rate of NI on the basis they were making other retirement income provisions.

This again could lead to a reduced state pension. It can be a complex area of law given how much the system has changed since its inception.

I would advise a benefit check, no other income, benefits or savings are mentioned but they could be missing out on other financial help