Your state pension - a good place to start...

When you begin to think about your retirement a good place to start is to see how much State Pension you’re entitled to and at what age you can access your State Pension.

You need to ask yourself...

• Do you want to retire earlier than the state will allow?

• Could you survive on the State Pension alone?

• What kind of retirement do you want?

• What does a good retirement lifestyle look like to you?

• What other pension provision you’ve got occupational, private or other assets to fund and meet your retirement aspirations?

How much State Pension Will I get and How Many Year of Qualifying National Insurance do I Have?

To find out how much State Pension you could be entailed to along with the number of qualifying years you have on your Nation Insurance record visit

State Pension Changes 

Changes to the State Pension in April 2016 have left people feeling confused. A Which? Survey* of people aged 50-64 found that only 61% were even aware of the changes.

Full Level State Pension from April 2016

The 'full' level of new state pension (as of April 2018) is £164.35 per week.

The full level of state pension is confusing because you may get more or less than £164.35 per week, depending on how many years of full National Insurance contributions you've made and whether you were contracted out before 6th April 2016.

What is contracted out?

Contracting out ended in April 2016.

Your contracting-out history will still impact how much state pension you get.

As well as the basic state pension, the government provided a second-tier top-up pension, based on how much you earned. This was introduced in 1978 and was originally called the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps), in 2002 it became State Second Pension (S2P).

Before 2012, employees were allowed to 'contract out' of this additional pension. In exchange for lower National Insurance contributions, they gave up part or all of it and will receive extra pension from their occupational scheme or personal/stakeholder pension instead.

If you’ve been contracted out

If you were contracted out, you've been making NI contributions at a reduced rate or receiving a rebate into your pension. If this is the case you will get less state pension than those who didn’t. This is a separate pot called Protected Rights.

If you were contracted out but carry on working for a number of years after 2016, making full-rate NI contributions, you can build up further state pension until you reach the full level of new state pension £164.35 per week.

What if I’ve been contracted in?

The new rules mean that no one will lose any extra state pension they've accrued through making full National Insurance contributions.

With the old or new system your starting amount will be whichever value is the highest. You’ll get the higher amount even if this is more than the new maximum full level of state pension.


HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.

The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount invested.

* Confusion rife over new state pension, 2016

Newcastle Building Society introduces to Newcastle Financial Advisers Limited for advice on investments, pensions, inheritance tax planning, and life cover. Newcastle Financial Advisers Limited is an appointed representative of Openwork Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.