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Pensions are paid to us when we get older or when we are unable to work through ill health. How and when they are paid will depend on the terms of that particular pension scheme.

There are several different types of pension:

When your pension is paid to you

State Retirement Pension
This is paid by the Benefits Agency (Department
for Work and Pensions) when we reach retirement age. Retirement age is different for men and women, but this is being changed so that men and women will retire at the same age.

Women born before 6 April 1950 will not be affected. They will be able to receive the state retirement pension at 60.

Women born after 6 April 1955 will retire at age 65.

Those born between those dates will retire at some time between 60 and 65 - contact your local Department for Work and Pensions office for details.

The amount of State Retirement Pension is based on how much National Insurance you have paid during your working life. The way that it is worked out is too complicated to show here as it has changed so many times.

The pension is split into:

  • Basic Pension
  • Additional Pension - based on earnings
  • Graduated Pension - based on National Insurance Contributions between 1961 and 1975
  • An increase for certain dependants - such as children
  • An age addition for anyone aged 80 or over
  • An addition for disability if a person was on incapacity benefit shortly before retirement.

Note: You can get a pension forecast by contacting the Benefits Agency (Department for Work and Pensions).

The pension will not be affected by any other money you have coming in to your household. It will count as income against means-tested benefits such as Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credits.

State Retirement Pension is accepted by Government to be insufficient on its own to live on. Many people claim Pension Credit in addition to their pension. This was introduced by the Government in 2003 and replaces income support. Pension Credits guarantee everyone over the age of 60 an income of at least:

  • £130.00 if you are single.
  • £198.45 if you have a partner.

For more information on Pension Credits click here -

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If you have paid into a pension scheme in the past but have mislaid the paperwork, the Pension Tracing Service can help you.

You can contact it on:

Tel: 0845 6002 537 or by writing to

Pension Tracing Service
The Pension Service
Future Pension Centre
Room TB201
Tyneview Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA


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