Pensions  

State pension calculator attracts 300k before full launch

State pension calculator attracts 300k before full launch

A government website allowing users to find out how much they will receive in state pension payments will be fully lauched “over the next few months”, the pensions minister has confirmed.

The online service, which gives an instant, personalised estimate of exactly how much retirees can expect to receive, was quietly soft launched in February for consumer testing.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions it has since attracted more than 300,000 unique visits.

“The idea is to help people understand what they can expect from their state pension so they can build their extra private income on top,” Baroness Ros Altmann told FTAdviser.

“Under the old system nobody could predict their future state pension, but with this new digital service that will be pretty easy,” she said, calling it a “revolutionary“ step forward.

Until February, state pension quotes had to be requested by post, and took several weeks to arrive, but users can now get an instant quote online.

Details include weekly, monthly and annual income, the date on which the user will be eligible to claim, and how many more years of National Insurance contributions they must make in order to get the full amount.

It does not contain information on inflation-linked increases, or indicate how much the user will receive if they fail to contribute for the full period - between 30 and 35 years, depending on when they were born.

A warning states the quote “is not a guarantee and is based on the current law”.

To access the service, people must set up a Government Gateway account, provide their National Insurance number and the details of another document, such as a British passport.

Last week a group of 14 organisations, including insurance companies, master trusts, banks and government bodies, released a white paper on the creation of a pensions dashboard; an initiative to allow consumers to see all of their pension pots in one place.

Ms Altmann said the government’s new service could feed into this dashboard, providing consumers with a full picture of what income they can expect in retirement.

Neil Mumford, a financial planner with Milestone Wealth Management, said he found the service very easy to use, and has recommended his clients sign up.

“Now, with the new flat rate pension we need to get our clients up to date with what they can expect to receive.”

However he said it would be useful if the government included details on how much retirees would receive if they had not contributed for the full 35 years, as well as the benefits from deferring receipt of the pension.

The calculator is still in its testing phase, meaning users can give the government feedback.