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State pensions

Information about the single-tier state pension and changes to the retirement age.

The state pension rules changed radically on 6 April 2016, for men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953. The ‘new state pension’ made up of a single-tier pension system replaced the previous system of a basic state pension and an earnings-related state second pension.


The maximum new state pension is £221.20 a week in 2024/25. 

Qualifying conditions

Thirty-five qualifying years of NICs or credits are needed for a full pension. Ten qualifying years are needed to get any pension. If you have between ten and thirty-five years you get a pro rata amount of the full new state pension.

Qualification for the new state pension is based on individual qualification. In most cases there is no entitlement based on contributions from a spouse or civil partner. There is an exception for women who opted to pay reduced rate National Insurance contributions, and state pension can be inherited in some bereavement cases.

Transition to new scheme

Accrued rights to the state second pension built up under the old system were recognised (but not fully respected) under the new system.

People (like teachers) who were ‘contracted out’ of the pre-2016 state second pension will have had a deduction made at the transition to the new system in April 2016. This is broadly the amount of state second pension which would have been earned if the individual had been ‘contracted-in’. They then accumulate extra new state pension up to the maximum full amount.

Existing pensioners

Pensioners who reached state pension age prior to 6 April 2016 stayed on the previous system. 

The maximum level of the basic state pension is £169.50 a week in 2024/25. The earnings-related state second pension is a variable amount. The total can be more or less than the maximum new state pension.

Uprating of state pensions

The basic state pension and new state pension are usually indexed to the higher of CPI inflation, average earnings increases or 2.5 per cent – known as the ‘triple lock’. This had operated since 2010 and the Conservative Party promised at the last General Election to keep the triple lock for this Parliament. The NEU supports the continuation of the triple lock.

The Government abandoned the triple lock in 2022/23 but has restored it for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The 2024/25 increase was in line with the increase in average earnings of 8.5 per cent. It is unclear at this stage whether the triple lock will be maintained after the next General Election.

Increases in the state additional pension under the old state pension system are linked to the CPI increase rather than the triple lock, so increased by 6.7 per cent.

More information 

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Increase in state pension age

This update sets out the state pension ages for men and women stemming from the Pensions Act 2007, Pensions Act 2011 and Pensions Act 2014.

The state pension age is extremely important to members of public sector pensions. Members of career average public sector schemes have these pension rights linked to their state pension age. If the state pension age rises in future, the age at which they can get their full pension goes up too.

Current position

From 6 October 2020 the state pension age for men and women is 66.

The state pension age will remain at 66 for people born on or 5 April 1960. The Pensions Act 2014 brought forward the timetable for increasing the state pension age from 66 to 67. This will now occur between 2026 and 2028 for men and women according to the following timetable::

State pension age
Date of BirthDate State Pension Age reached
6 April 1960 - 5 May 196066 Years 1 Month
6 May 1960 - 5 June 196066 Years 2 Months
6 June 1960 - 5 July 196066 Years 3 Months
6 July 1960 - 5 August 196066 Years 4 Months
6 August 1960 - 5 September 196066 Years 5 Months
6 September 1960 - 5 October 196066 Years 6 Months
6 October 1960 - 5 November 196066 Years 7 Months
6 November 1960 - 5 December 196066 Years 8 Months
6 December 1960 - 5 January 196166 Years 9 Months
6 January 1961 - 5 February 196166 Years 10 Months
6 February 1961 - 5 March 196166 Years 11 Months
6 March 1961 - 5 April 1977Your 67th birthday

Under the Pensions Act 2007, the state pension age for men and women will increase from 67 to 68 between 2044 and 2046 according to the following timetable:

State Pension Age
Date of BirthDate State Pension Age reached
6 April 1977 - 5 May 19776 May 2044
6 May 1977 - 5 June 19776 July 2044
6 June 1977 - 5 July 19776 September 2044
6 July 1977 - 5 August 19776 November 2044
6 August 1977 - 5 September 19776 January 2045
6 September 1977 - 5 October 19776 March 2045
6 October 1977 - 5 November 19776 May 2045
6 November 1977 - 5 December 19776 July 2045
6 December 1977 - 5 January 19786 September 2045
6 January 1978 - 5 February 19786 November 2045
6 February 1978 - 5 March 19786 January 2046
6 March 1978 - 5 April 19786 March 2046
6 April 1978 onwardsYour 68th birthday

The NEU continues to oppose the increase in the state pension age. It is not realistic to expect teachers and support staff to work into their late 60s. We also oppose linking the state pension age to the public sector pension scheme normal pension ages.

The Pensions Act 2014 contained provisions for a review of the state pension age every six years. The ‘guiding principle’ is that people should not expect to spend more than one-third of their adult life in receipt on the state pension. 

The first review was completed in July 2017 and recommended an acceleration of the increase in state pension age to 68. The recommendation was to increase the state pension age from 67 to 68 in 2037 to 2039, bringing it forward by seven years from its current legislated date of 2044 to 2046. This increase was not legislated for by Parliament. 

A second review was completed in March 2023. It recommended implementing the increase to 68 between 2041 and 2043. However, the Government has not legislated for this and instead proposes a further review within two years – after the General Election. It remains the case that primary legislation would be needed to change the state pension age. Until this happens, the Pensions Act 2014 timetable remains accurate.

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In whatever capacity you work in education, there is likely to be an occupational scheme available for you.

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