State Pension  

Women continue to narrow state pension gap

Women continue to narrow state pension gap

The amount of weekly state benefit received by women in November 2021 has increased to £148.82, up from £143.43 the previous year.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions' latest state pension figures, published yesterday (May 17), the mean weekly state benefit received by men in November 2021 was £172.12, compared with £168.65 per week respectively in November 2020.

Median income for women on the basic state pension is £146.39 compared to £172.68 per week for men. 

However, women on the new state pension get an average of £164.90 compared to an average of £170.51 for men.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s senior pensions and retirement analyst Helen Morrissey, said: “The state pension gap is still narrowing, with the amount women receive continuing to rise.

"The introduction of the new state pension in 2016 has significantly boosted the amount women receive and we are seeing a big drop in the number of women receiving less than £100 per week in state pension.

“As more women retire into the new state pension system we should see incomes continue to grow and the introduction of auto-enrolment will see many more women further build their retirement resilience with a workplace pension.”

The DWP figures revealed that the full basic state pension is currently £141.85 per week and the full new state pension is £185.15 per week.

In November 2021, 1.5mn women received less than £100 per week in state pension. In November 2020, that figure was 1.67m.

For men, 448,082 received less than £100 per week in state pension compared to 465,479 in November 2020.

“It is hugely important women focus on building their own retirement wealth,” Morrissey said. “The new state pension does not allow you to inherit state pension entitlement from a spouse in the same way the old system did, and so women’s state pension is based on your individual national insurance record. 

“Similarly, it can be tempting to rely on a spouse’s workplace pension provision if it is particularly generous, but in the case of separation or divorce many women may find themselves approaching retirement with little in the way of pension income.”

Last month, MPs wrote to the DWP questioning the government’s communication strategy on state pension underpayments and asking for further clarity on its progress.

Its report, ‘Underpayments of the state pension’, highlighted a number of areas where the government needs to make changes to ensure maladministration and underpayment issues do not continue.

Morrisey added: “The state pension forms the backbone of peoples’ retirement planning. Under the current system you need 10 years’ worth of national insurance (NI) credits to qualify for a state pension and 35 years’ worth to qualify for the full amount. 

“Women can often struggle to reach the full amount because they spend time out of the workforce looking after families. However, claiming state benefits during these times can mean you can still claim NI credits.”

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