I am 66 and my wife is 68. We are both retired and receiving our state pensions. I get the full amount, but my wife’s pension is reduced as she did not have sufficient National Insurance contributions. I, on the other hand, had 42 years of contributions, which is in excess of the maximum required. Can I transfer my excess years to my wife so that her entitlement would be increased?
If your wife’s state pension is below £73.30 a week, it may be possible to increase it through your national insurance record. You can find out if your wife qualifies for an increase by using the Department for Work and Pensions calculator at Gov.uk/state-pension-through-partner. Put in your details, and if the calculator says you qualify but you don’t think your wife has automatically received the increase, you will need to contact the Pension Service. See Gov.uk/ contact-pension-service for the details.
How much state pension will I get?
The government introduced a flat-rate state pension in April 2016 to replace the old two-tier system. But many of us won’t qualify for the full state pension due to a number of factors.
To get the full rate of state pension you need to have 35 years of national insurance contributions (NICs). If you have less than that, you’ll get a reduced pension.
You may also get a reduced pension if you were ‘contracted out’ for a period of your working life. This is where you gave up your right to the old second state pension in return for paying reduced NICs. Government figures show that 80% of older workers were contracted out at some point in their working life.
You can find out how many years of NICs you have, and what your predicted state pension is, by filling out the forms at Gov.uk/check-state-pension.
If you find you will get a reduced state pension, you might be able to boost it by buying NICs. You can find out more about this on the Pensions Advisory Service website (Pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk). But be warned, make absolutely certain that making a voluntary payment will boost your state pension, as you won’t get a refund if it turns out you were wrong.