The age at which most people in the UK start to receive their state pension officially hit 66 last week, with further rises in the pipeline.

The latest steady rise in the qualifying age for the state pension kicked in from 6 October 2020.

As a result, men and women born between 6 October 1954 and 5 April 1960 will start receiving their pension on their 66th birthday.

For those born after 5 April 1960, there will be a phased increase in state pension age to 67 and eventually 68.

The full state pension for new recipients is worth £175.20 a week in 2020/21.
To receive the full amount, various criteria including 35 qualifying years of national insurance contributions must be satisfied.

Pete Clancy, head of policy at Scottish Widows, said:

“The increase to the state pension age provides a timely reminder to everyone to check your pension pots and ask yourself whether the savings you’ve built up are enough for the kind of life you want in retirement.”

Controversy

Last week’s increase has been controversial for women born in the 1950s, many of whom have seen their state pension age increase from 60 to 66 over the past 10 years.

Two women affected by the goal posts being moved for women recently lost their appeal against a High Court ruling.

Up to four million women have reportedly been affected by the change which requires them to work six years longer to claim their state pension.

Helen Morrissey, pensions specialist at Royal London, said:

“The recent Court of Appeal decision highlighted the real financial difficulties experienced by women who were unaware of the change in state pension age and were not prepared for it.

“While the decision did not go in their favour it is to be hoped their experience will raise awareness of the importance of knowing your retirement age and being prepared.”

Future increases

The state pension age for men and women is next scheduled to rise from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028, although this might be brought forward.

Existing law will see the state pension age for both genders rise from 67 to 68 in 2046. Like the earlier increase, this legislation is likely to change.

“As people live longer, it’s clear many will also have to work for longer,”
added Clancy. “The reality is that for many, the state pension on its own will not be sufficient to see them through their golden years.

“This is why it’s important to pay into a private pension throughout your working life – particularly if you want to retire before the state pension age.”

Triple-lock fears allayed

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dismissed claims the Government could abandon its commitment to the triple-lock in 2021/22.

The triple-lock system is what determines the annual increase in the state pension by whichever is the highest of average wage growth, price increases, or 2.5%.

Sunak said protecting the state pension is a “manifesto commitment” and “very much the legislated position”.

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