The basic State Pension is a very basic pension that the government pays to everyone who is eligible in the UK and over the State Pension age.
To be eligible for the State Pension, you must be a UK citizen who has contributed a certain number of years worth of National Insurance contributions. These contributions can come from those paid throughout a working life, or can be topped up or credited by those who haven’t worked, like full-time mums and carers.
The State Pension currently pays just £97.65 a week, which isn’t enough money for most people to live off comfortably.
Compared with the amount of money people get used to living off during their working life, the £400 or so a month the State Pension contributes will not be enough for most, or at the least will require a drastic change of lifestyle.
People are strongly advised to make sure they have another pension, or savings, if they don’t want to spend the rest of their life in pension poverty.
To qualify for the full State Pension, a certain number of qualifying years are required, which are earnt throughout the working life. This varies depending on age, sex and other factors.
To qualify, each year you must have earnt over a certain amount which will have triggered sufficient National Insurance contributions. In the last tax year this figure was just over £5,000 a year.
Men born before 6th April 1945 needed 44 qualifying years to get a full state pension, but this drops to just 30 years for those born after that date.
Women born before 6th April 1950 need 39 qualifying years, but those born after this date also need just 30.
There are also credit systems in place for those who have been full-time parents or carers, which allow qualifiying years to be accrued without having earned the money.
The State Pension age is currently in the process of changing, and an amendment was made in the recent Budget which will move it to 65 for both men and women by 2018, and 66 by 2020. Previously the State Pension age had been 65 for men and 60 for women.