15th October 2015
A new scheme is offering millions of Britons a fresh chance to bolster their state pension.
Starting this week, anyone reaching State Pension age before 6 April 2016 will be offered the chance to “safeguard their long-term financial security” according to the government.
Men and women respectively aged 65 and 63 or older are being given the opportunity to increase their State Pension by up to £25 a week, giving them guaranteed extra income for life.
The scheme will remain open for 18 months and those who think they can benefit will be able to buy additional State Pension – worth up to £1,300 a year. In most cases, surviving spouses and civil partners will be able to inherit at least 50% of the extra pension.
The amount people will have to pay will depend on their exact age as the older they get, the lower the price.
Presently the basic state pension is a maximum £115 .95. The new flat-rate pension will be worth up to £155 a week to those that qualify.
The cost of a State Pension top up is based on a person’s age and takes average life expectancy into account. For a 65-year-old, an extra £10 of pension a week will cost £8,900, whereas for a 75-year-old the contribution rate for the same amount of pension is £6,740.
Minister for pensions, Baroness Altmann said: “This government’s commitment is to provide security for working people at every stage of their lives, and that includes giving people the chance to enjoy a financially secure retirement.
“We have already committed to protecting pensioner incomes with the triple lock – uprating the basic State Pension by at least 2.5% each year of this Parliament. The new State Pension, coming in from April 2016, will ensure a simpler, more sustainable State Pension for the pensioners of tomorrow. Top up is an opportunity for people already retired, or reaching State Pension age before April 2016, to boost their later life income.”
However Baroness Altmann added that the scheme will not be right for everybody and as such she advised people seek advice.
“But it could be particularly attractive for those who haven’t had the chance to build significant amounts of State Pension, particularly many women and people who have been self-employed,” she said.
BBC News reports that some seven million people are currently of pensionable age, according to the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), and are able to take part.
More information on State Pension top up and how to apply is available at www.gov.uk/statepensiontopup.