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The State Pension is a regular pensioner benefit made by the Government to people who have made enough National Insurance contributions during their working lives (this is different to a private pension or workplace pension). Being above the State Pension age is different to that of the UK retirement age as well.
If you’re married and you’re entitled to the UK State Pension, you may be wondering how much you and your spouse can receive. Here, we’ve covered all the information you’ll need surrounding this topic, including how much the State Pension is for couples in the UK during the 2023/2024 tax year.
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There aren’t any special State Pension arrangements for married couples or people in a civil partnership. Each partner in the marriage or civil partnership needs to build up their own State Pension through qualifying years. They can’t benefit from their spouse’s State Pension (which will cease when that person dies).
However, if you’re a woman who paid the reduced rate - ‘married woman’s contributions’ - you might be able to claim a higher State Pension based on your spouse’s National Insurance contributions.
There are currently some changes to the State Pension age. For people reaching the State Pension age now, it’ll be age 66 for men and women. For those born after 5th April 1960, there will be a phased increase in the State Pension age to 67, and eventually to 68.
Knowing your exact State Pension age and your retirement income will make preparing for retirement easier.
How much State Pension you’re eligible for (your State Pension forecast) can often be complicated, but here’s a general overview to make things simpler for you.
If you’ve nearly reached State Pension age, the best way to work out how much you’re entitled to - whether single or part of a couple - is by getting a State Pension forecast.
As a single person for the 2023/24 tax year, you’ll get the full £156.20 per week in Basic State Pension (up from £141.85 in 2022/23 - an increase of 10.1%) if you’ve built up enough qualifying years.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership and both you and your partner have built up the full number of qualifying years, you’ll get double this amount - £312.40 between you.
In his Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt announced that the State Pension will increase by a further 8.5% in April 2024. This will see the Basic State Pension rise to £169.50 a week, or £339 between you.
To qualify for the full amount as a man, you’ll need:
To qualify for the full amount as a woman, you’ll need:
|Weekly 2023/24 Basic State Pension Amount For An Individual||Weekly 2023/24 Basic State Pension For A Couple|
At the same time, if you’re a married woman but don’t have the full number of qualifying years and your spouse retired before April 2016, you might be entitled to claim the married woman’s rate we previously mentioned. This is 60% of the Basic State Pension your spouse gets. So, if he gets the full Basic State Pension, you’d receive £93.72 (60% of £156.20).
If your Basic State Pension is less than 60% of your spouse’s, you might be entitled to a top-up and should get in touch with the Pension Service.
The full rate for the New State Pension for the 2023/24 tax year is £203.85 (up from £185.15 in 2022/23 - an increase of 10.1%). If you and your partner have built up the full 35 qualifying years, you’ll get double this amount as a married couple. This comes to £407.70 between you.
If one or both of you don’t have the full number of qualifying years, it’ll be less.
Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement announcement will also see the New State Pension increase. From April 2024, this will be worth £221.20 a week, or £442.40 between you.
|Weekly 2023/24 New State Pension Amount For An Individual||Weekly 2023/24 New State Pension For A Couple|
You can claim the New State Pension if you’re:
The earliest you can get this New State Pension is when you reach State Pension age.
You’ll need 35 qualifying years to be eligible for the New full State Pension. If you have between 10 and 35 qualifying years, you’ll get a proportion of the New State Pension instead (these years don’t need to be consecutive).
A qualifying year means at least one of the following applied to you:
You might also qualify if you’ve paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions.
If you or your partner go into a care home, you’ll still get your Basic State Pension or New State Pension. However, if your care home fees are paid in full or part by the local authority, NHS or out of other public funds, you might have to use your State Retirement Pension to pay towards part of the care costs.
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Yes, husbands and wives get a separate state pension. There are no longer any special state pension arrangements for married couples. This means each partner in the marriage or civil partnership needs to build up their own State Pension through qualifying.
Many married women are entitled to a Basic State Pension at 60% of the full rate because of their husband’s record of National Insurance contributions. This can happen in circumstances where their own record of contributions would provide a lower pension. For 2022/23, the full Basic State Pension is £156.20, so the rate for married women claiming on this basis would be £93.72 (60% of £141.85).
Your husband’s State Pension will normally stop being paid when he passes away. But sometimes, you could be able to inherit some of his State Pension. This depends on the amount of contributions you both made, and when you both reached (or will reach) State Pension age (before or after 6th April 2016).
The Widow’s Pension was phased out in 2001 and has since been replaced by Bereavement Support Payments. This is paid in monthly instalments, with the amount you receive depending on whether or not you have children. Those without children will receive up to £100 every month, whereas this can rise to £350 if you have children. UK citizens who have lost a partner may also be entitled to a one-off bereavement payment. This is normally a tax-free lump sum of £2,500, but may increase to £3,500 if you have children.
Written by our team of experts and designed to help families fund later life care in England.