State pension age? Pausing payment could increase amount you get – ‘Could be worthwhile’

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The state pension is a contributory benefit, meaning the amount a person is entitled to can vary. It’s possible to get a state pension forecast ahead of reaching state pension age.

This forecast can show a person how much their entitlement is, as well as whether and how they can increase it.

Boosting the state pension is something which many people may look to do prior to claiming it.

This is something which Kay Ingram, Director of Public Policy at national financial planning group LEBC has recently spoken about, in the latest of a series of alerts.

Some of the opportunities don’t come at a cost to members of the public.

For instance, it may be possible to fill in gaps in one’s National Insurance record by claiming Child Benefit, or Specified Adult Childcare Credit.

Unpaid carers may also be able to increase their state pension if they are missing qualifying years due to not having been able to make the required National Insurance contributions.

This can be done via Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit.

Alternatively, those unable to get National Insurance credits may decide to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Other options may include delaying claiming the state pension after reaching state pension age.

For those who have already begun receiving the state pension, there is another opportunity to increase the payment, as Ms Ingram explained.

This can be done by pausing receiving the state pension.

The chartered financial planner continued: “Those who have already started to receive State Pension may pause payment.”

It’s possible to do this just the once, and Ms Ingram highlighted some instances where it “could be worthwhile”.

She said: “This can only be done once and could be worthwhile if the income it provides is surplus to needs, if the individual’s tax liability will be higher for a period and there is an expectation of a long lifespan, or for older couples, a spouse who may benefit from the lump sum payable on death, where the pension started before 6th April 2016.”

The state pension age is currently rising, meaning some may need to wait longer to get the payment than they would have done in the past.

To check to see what one’s state pension age is, it’s possible to access a tool online.

The “Check your State Pension age” service is available on the government website.

It can be used to not only find out when they’ll reach state pension age, but Pension Credit qualifying age and when they’ll be eligible for free bus travel too.

Users will need to input their date of birth.

Some may also need to state whether they’re classed as male or female.

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