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Why must I wait until seven months after I am 66 for a state pension?

Why must I wait a further seven months after I turn 66 to receive a state pension? Steve Webb replies


My birthday is in October and I reach my 67th birthday in 2027.

On my Government Gateway page it states I can claim my state pension in May 2028.

I do not understand why I have to wait until the following May in order to collect my state pension.

Retirement planning: Why must I wait a further seven months after I turn 66 to receive a state pension?

To further rub salt in the wound, my husband shares the same birthday but is two years older.

His Government Gateway page states he can claim his state pension in October 2024, not needing to wait until the following May.

Please are you able to explain in layman terms why I have to wait an additional seven months. It seems very unfair.

SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT HOW TO ASK STEVE YOUR PENSION QUESTION   

Steve Webb replies: Your question is an important reminder that the increases in state pension ages which have happened at pace in the last decade have not come to an end.

Under the timetable currently laid down in law, the state pension age will rise from the current 66 (for both men and women) to 67 by April 2028 and to 68 by April 2046.

Steve Webb: Find out how to ask the former Pensions Minister a question about your retirement savings in the box below

Steve Webb: Find out how to ask the former Pensions Minister a question about your retirement savings in the box below

However, the Government is due to undertake another review of state pension ages shortly and the move to 68 is very likely to be brought forward.

A timetable for a move to 69 could also be on the cards for younger workers.

Turning to your particular situation, you are caught in the two year ‘window’ during which the pension age rises gradually from 66 to 67.

This process starts in April 2026 and ends in April 2028.

During this period the pension age will not be an exact number of years but will be 66 years plus a number of months.

For example, half way through this period – in April 2027 – the state pension age will be 66 years and six months.

The reason for this staged approach is to avoid an overnight change where someone born a minute before midnight on one day gets a pension at 66 and someone born a minute after midnight has to wait until they are 67.

In your case, you were born in October 1960, so you reach 66 in October 2026. But, as explained above, the pension age will no longer be exactly 66 by this point, which is why you have to wait longer.

The exact phasing of state pension increases is shown in the table below which comes from the Pensions Act 2014. 

As you will see from the table, those born in late October 1960 have a pension age of 66 years and seven months which is in line with the information you have obtained from gov.uk.

With regard to your husband, because he is two years older than you, he reaches 66 before the next increase in state pension age comes into force, so he can draw a pension on his 66th birthday.

The two key pieces of advice I would give to anyone regarding state pension age would be:

1. Check your state pension age as it currently stands – you can do this here. 

2. Remember that Governments can – and do – increase state pension ages, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for announcements of changes.

The Government has said that its policy now is to give a minimum of 10 years’ notice, so in principle once you are within 10 years of your expected pension age you should see no further increases.

But even then, there is no harm keeping an eye out just in case of last minute alterations. 

Ask Steve Webb a pension question

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money’s Agony Uncle.

He is ready to answer your questions, whether you are still saving, in the process of stopping work, or juggling your finances in retirement.

Steve left the Department of Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a partner at actuary and consulting firm Lane Clark & Peacock.

If you would like to ask Steve a question about pensions, please email him at pensionquestions@thisismoney.co.uk.

Steve will do his best to reply to your message in a forthcoming column, but he won’t be able to answer everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his replies constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.

Please include a daytime contact number with your message – this will be kept confidential and not used for marketing purposes.

If Steve is unable to answer your question, you can also contact The Pensions Advisory Service, a Government-backed organisation which gives free help to the public. TPAS can be found here and its number is 0800 011 3797.

Steve receives many questions about state pension forecasts and COPE – the Contracted Out Pension Equivalent. If you are writing to Steve on this topic, he responds to a typical reader question here. It includes links to Steve’s several earlier columns about state pension forecasts and contracting out, which might be helpful.  

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