Basic State Pension (BSP)

The full BSP from 6 April 2020 is:

  • Single person – £134.25 per week

Since April 2011 the Government has committed to increase the Basic State Pension each year in line with the greatest of the increase in prices (as measured by the Consumer Prices Index [CPI] or the increase in average earnings or 2.5% per annum. All three major UK political parties have also pledged to continue with this “triple lock” in future.

The BSP is a flat-rate pension (i.e. it is not earnings related) and it is paid to any person who has paid enough National Insurance Contributions or has enough credits when they reach their State Pension Age (SPA)

If you reached your SPA before 6 April 2010
The full rate of BSP was payable if you had 39 (for women) or 44 (for men) qualifying years. The minimum BSP (25% of the full amount) was payable if you had 10 (women) or 11 (men) qualifying years. Any women with less than 10 qualifying years or men with less than 11 qualifying years have no BSP entitlement on retirement!!

If you reached your SPA on or after 6 April 2010
The full rate of BSP is payable if you have 30 qualifying years on your National Insurance record. If you have less than 30 qualifying years, your BSP will be scaled down in proportion (i.e. if you have 26 qualifying years, your BSP will be 26/30ths of the full amount). Anyone with one qualifying year to get some BSP.

If you reach your SPA after 6 April 2016
You will be subject to the new Flat Rate State Pension proposals.

Spouses and civil partners

Spouses and civil partners who have not paid sufficient contributions may receive a pension based on their partners’ contributions. That pension could be up to 60% of their partners’ BSP and would be payable from their State Pension Age (SPA). Husbands’ and civil partners’ eligibility came into force on 6 April 2010. It should be noted that under the new Flat Rate State Pension proposals this will no longer be possible.

Other points to remember about the BSP

Credits towards the BSP may be granted to the following groups who are unable to work in a particular tax year:

  • People aged 16 to 18
  • Credits for people in full-time training

If a person is aged over 18 and in full-time training, they should get credits. This is provided the training is approved and does not last longer than a year. Government sponsored courses are approved automatically. This does not apply to university students.

  • Credits for parents and carers

A person may get credits if they are:

  • getting Child Benefit for a child under 12
  • a registered foster carer
  • caring for one or more sick or disabled people for at least 20 hours a week
  • Credits for people who are unemployed but looking for work

If a person is unemployed but looking for work they may get credits, provided they are:

  • claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • available for and actively searching for work but not in education or doing paid work for 16 hours or more
  • Credits for people who are ill, disabled or on maternity leave

If a person is unable to work because of illness, disability or maternity, they should be entitled to credits. They need to be claiming one of the following:

  • Incapacity Benefit/ Employment and Support Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance
  • Credits for spouses of members of Her Majesty’s forces

If a person is married to, or in a registered civil partnership with, a member of Her Majesty’s forces and you accompany them on an overseas posting, they may not be paying UK National Insurance. This may mean they have gaps in their National Insurance record that could affect their entitlement to a full basic State Pension. For postings on or after 6 April 2010, they should be able to apply for a National Insurance credit which could boost their State Pension.

Division of the Basic State Pension on divorce

The Basic State Pension cannot be shared on divorce.

If a person on divorce does not have a full National Insurance contribution record up until that time, they may apply to substitute the National Insurance record of their former spouse for their own record in relation to all tax years during their working life up to the end of the tax year in which the marriage ended or the end of the tax year before they reach State Pension Age (SPA), whichever comes first. This process is referred to as Pension Substitution and is a benefit which needs to be claimed rather than being granted automatically.

If the ex spouse subsequently remarries they will lose the benefit of any Pension Substitution top up, unless the remarriage occurs after their State Pension has already come into payment.