What can you do if you are getting zero state pension?

This page provides information for people who come under the ‘old’ state pension system but who are getting no state pension at all.  The old state pension system applies to men born before 6th April 1951 and women born before 6th April 1953.

New LCP research has found that large numbers of people over state pension age are not getting any state pension at all. In some cases, this may be correct, but in many cases it may simply be that they need to make a claim and could be getting a pension. This web page explains the two main groups who might be affected.  You should also read the notes at the end of this page for things to be aware of before making a claim. 

1. Those aged 80 or over

For those who are aged 80 or over, the UK pension system has a special pension payable at a rate of £82.45 per week in 2021/22. This is known as the ‘Category D’ pension.

The special feature of this pension is that it does not depend on your record of National Insurance Contributions. There are only three main requirements for entitlement – being aged 80 or over, not already getting a pension at this rate, and satisfying a basic residence test. The government’s own website puts it like this:

You can claim the over 80 pension if all of the following apply:

  • you’re 80 or over
  • you do not get basic State Pension or your basic State Pension is less than £82.45 a week in 2021 to 2022
  • you were resident in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 10 years out of 20 (this does not have to be 10 years in a row) - this 20 year period must include the day before you turned 80 or any day after
  • you were ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar on your 80th birthday or the date you made the claim for this pension, if later

(See: www.gov.uk/over-80-pension )

The important thing to be aware of is that if you weren’t getting any pension at all when you turned 80, you need to put in a claim for this pension – it is not paid out automatically. More details on how to claim are at: Contact the Pension Service 

2. Women with husbands on a state pension

Married women who have a husband (or a civil partner) who is getting a basic state pension can usually claim their own state pension based on their husband’s contributions, provided they are also over pension age. This married woman’s pension is known as a Category BL pension. 

If the husband is getting the maximum basic state pension – currently £137.60 per week – the wife can get a basic pension of £82.45. If the husband is getting less than the full amount, the amount the wife gets is reduced pro rata.

Note that a wife can claim this pension even if the husband has ‘deferred’ taking his pension. 

In rare cases a husband can claim based on his wife’s contributions, but usually it is the other way round. 

More details on how to claim are at: Contact the Pension Service 

Other things to be aware of

  • State pensions count as income when you are assessed for means-tested benefits such as pension credit, housing benefit or council tax help. This means that if you are on benefit, you could find that when you start receiving state pension, your benefits may be reduced;
  • State pensions are taxable; if this is your only taxable income then you will be under the tax threshold and pay no tax, but if you have other taxable income then your state pension may take you over the tax threshold and mean that some income tax is payable;
  • In some cases, people may be receiving other benefits which cannot be received at the same time as a state pension or which are reduced when state pension is payable.  Main examples include Severe Disablement Allowance, Carers Allowance and certain war pensions. If you are receiving any of these benefits you may wish to discuss your situation with an organisation such as a Citizens Advice Bureau before putting in a claim for state pension.

We would be interested to hear how you get on – please email LCP partner Steve Webb at steve.webb@lcp.uk.com

Information on this webpage does not constitute financial advice or other professional advice, nor a recommendation of a particular course of action.

Lane Clark and Peacock LLP, its officers or employees do not accept any responsibility or liability for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused by action taken (or a decision not to take action) as a result of information provided by this.