Fri 15 Dec 2017

How to get a state pension forecast

The new flat-rate state pension came into effect for everyone reaching state pension age from April 2016.  For 2018/19 it is £164.35 per week, equivalent to £8,500 per year.

However, despite the "flat-rate" moniker, many people will receive more or less than this at retirement.  How much an individual will receive still depends on a myriad of factors such as years of National Insurance contributions, periods of contracting out, and periods of SERPS and State Second Pension accrual.

Knowing how much state pension you are due to receive is an important step in building a financial plan.  There are several routes to obtaining a forecast, with the system recently moving online to allow an immediate response.

Online: You need to confirm who you are to use the online service.  If you have a Government Gateway account, perhaps because you do self-assessment, then you can use that login.  Alternatively you can use the GOV.UK Verify service.  Once registered you can login at any time and get an instant forecast.

Telephone: You can call the Future Pension Centre on 0800 731 0175 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).  You will need your National Insurance number.

Paper form: For many years the only way to get a forecast was to complete a paper BR19 form.  This form is still available, though the only way to obtain one is online (via the "Online" link above, or search for "BR19").  You need to have access to a printer.

Once you have your forecast then you'll be able to decide if there is anything you can do to increase the state pension you are due to receive.

It is easy to knock the UK's state pension.  The OECD's "Pensions at a Glance 2017" report* suggests that the UK state pension is the "least generous" of the most advanced economies (as a percentage of earnings when in work).  However, it is still a valuable and important building block on which to base a comfortable retirement alongside additional pensions (either personal or via an employer) and other assets.

* At 167 pages this is a hefty "glance", but for those interested the key chart is on page 101.

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