The State Pension is intended to make sure that everyone has a basic amount of money to support them in their old age. State Pensions are funded from National Insurance (NI) contributions. You will receive a State Pension in your own right ( i.e. regardless of whether you’re married or not) and what you'll receive doesn’t depend on how much you have earned, but on your own NI record. To get the full State Pension, currently, you need to have 35 years’ worth of NI contributions or credits.

The form in which you receive the state pension depends on your SPA - or State Pension Age. Click here for the GOV.UK SPA calculator.

These rules apply to you if you already reached your SPA BEFORE 6 April 2016.

There are two parts to the State Pension - the basic state pension (BSP) and the additional state pension (ASP).

Basic State Pension (BSP)

You qualified for the basic state pension (BSP) if at least one of the following applied to you:

  • you paid national insurance contributions;
  • you claimed national insurance credits;
  • you had a spouse or civil partner whose national insurance contributions cover you for benefits.

The basic State Pension (BSP) did not depend on how much you had earned, but on your national insurance record. To get the full BSP, you needed to have paid National Insurance or received credits for 30 years. If you had fewer than 30 years credit, you received a lower BSP based on the number of years of contributions or credits you had. You only need one qualifying year to get some BSP. (If you reached your State Pension age before 6 April 2010, the number of credits were 39 years (for women) or 44 years (for men)  to get the full BSP.

Spouses and civil partners who had not paid enough contributions themselves to receive a BSP may have received a pension based on their partners' contributions of up to 60% of the partner's BSP.

Additional State Pension (ASP)

You may be claiming an additional State Pension. In most cases, this will be State second pension (S2P) but if you were working before April 1975, you may also have some graduated state pension.

State second pension (S2P) - This is paid in addition to the BSP. Until April 2002 it was known as SERPS. S2P is based on your National insurance contribution record and does depend on your earnings and whether or not you've claimed certain benefits. If you were an employee and had high enough earnings you would have contributed to S2P unless your workplace pension or personal pension was contracted out of S2P.

Graduated Retirement Benefit - This was the forerunner to SERPS and the amount of pension earned depends on the number of units of graduated contributions you paid between April 1961 and April 1975 and the value of a unit at the time you come to claim your pension.

These rules apply to you if you already reached your SPA AFTER 6 April 2016.

The existing two-tier system, as described in the section above, has been replaced by a single-tier system as of 6 April 2016.

To qualify for the new State Pension, you will need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record. You will need at least 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension. You will receive a proportionate amount of the full new State Pension if you have between 10 and 34 qualifying years.

The value of the new State Pension is currently £155.65 per week.