State PensionFeb 14 2023

Women main beneficiaries of state pension changes

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Women main beneficiaries of state pension changes
(Pexels/Maitree Rimthong)

The number of people receiving the state pension rose by 130,000 to 12.6mn in the year to August 2022, according to data by the Department for Work and Pensions.

In December 2018, the state pension age was raised above 65 for both men and women, initially resulting in fewer new claims. 

However, since October 2020 the minimum SPA has stood at 66 years. 

The new state pension was introduced for people reaching SPA after April 6, 2016 and as at August 2022, there were 2.9mn people receiving it, an increase of 670,000 on a year earlier.

Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said state pension incomes continue to climb with women retiring under the new state pension system being the major beneficiaries. 

State Pension schemeMaleFemale
New State Pension£175.84£170.52
Pre-2016 State Pension£178.60£152.12

Source: DWP

“The average amount of new state pension claimed by women is £170.52 compared to just £152.12 for a woman claiming the basic state pension – it is an enormous gap that makes a huge difference to women’s retirement prospects,” she said.

“It has also allowed women to significantly close the gender gap, although this isn’t all good news, because the increase for women has been accompanied by a cut for men – who claim an average of £175.84 in new state pension per week compared to £178.60 under the basic system.”

Morrissey said the playing field is levelling off though it’s important to add that not everyone gets a full state pension and there are still 1.8mn people receiving less than £100 per week.

People retiring under the new state pension system usually need 35 years’ worth of qualifying National Insurance Credits to claim a full state pension. 

Source: DWP

However, many people receive less than this due to gaps in their employment record.

“If you do have gaps, then it’s worth checking with DWP as you may be able to claim benefits for these time periods that come with a voluntary National Insurance credit,” Morrissey said.

“If you can afford it, you can also buy credits – a full year costs around £800 and for each year bought you get 1/35th of a year’s state pension – around £275. This means you effectively earn your money back in around three years so it can prove very good value.”

The data also revealed that employment and support allowance fell by 6.2 per cent to 1.7mn claimants and income support fell by 21 per cent to 170,000 claimants.

Jobseeker’s allowance fell by 35.1 per cent to 89,000 claimants. 

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