State pension boost: Eight ways you could increase your monthly income

Pensioners looking at document very happily

There are several ways people may be able to increase their state pension

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 07/09/2023

- 10:53

Updated: 11/10/2023

- 16:15

The state pension is often the bedrock to retirement and there may be ways to increase the amount a person gets

From errors to not having enough National Insurance qualifying years, there are various reasons why a person may not get the full state pension.

And for those who do, it may be they want to increase the amount further ahead of retiring.

There are many routes to boosting a state pension, and while certain ones won’t apply to everyone, it could be worth looking into whether one qualifies.

Pete Hykin, CEO and co-founder at Penfold, suggested eight ways people may be able to increase the amount they can get.

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Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are eligible for the state pension top-up Pension Credit


He told GB News: "The foundation of boosting your state pension lies in the accumulation of National Insurance credits.

“The more years you contribute, the larger your pension will be. But there are other avenues to explore.”

1. Voluntary National Insurance contributions

For those who have gaps in their National Insurance record and can’t claim National Insurance credits, it may be they opt to make voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Mr Hykin said: “If you've missed some years of contributions, you can make voluntary contributions to fill those gaps.

“This can increase your entitlement, but it's essential to check whether the additional contributions will indeed boost your final pension amount.”

2. Deferring the state pension

Those who haven’t yet claimed their state pension may opt to wait longer before they do so, in a bid to increase the amount they get when they do claim.

If you can afford to, delaying when you start taking your state pension can result in a higher weekly payment.”

For the new state pension, the increase is roughly one per cent for every nine weeks a person defers, but conditions apply. The rules are different for the basic state pension.

3. Pension Credit

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are eligible for a state pension top-up but aren’t claiming it.

“For those on a lower income, Pension Credit is a tax-free benefit that can give your annual pension income a significant lift,” Mr Hykin said.

“However, not claiming Pension Credit when you're eligible could result in losing out on other benefits, so it's crucial to look into this.”

4. Inheritance and divorce

Another important consideration is what happens to the state pension upon death or in the event of a divorce.

Mr Hykin said: “Understand that your state pension might be inheritable or shareable upon divorce.

“If your spouse or civil partner has a robust National Insurance record, you may inherit part of their additional state pension, boosting your own.”

5. Working after state pension age

There is no fixed retirement age, which means people can work beyond state pension age if they need to or wish to – and this could be how some decide to boost their retirement income.

Mr Hykin said: “You can continue to work after reaching your state pension age, which not only adds to your income but also allows you to defer your state pension for a higher amount later.

6. Check for errors

Spotting for errors which could have arisen is another top tip.

Always review your National Insurance record for any errors or gaps. This ensures you're getting the full amount you're entitled to receive.

7. Claim Child Benefit

Parents who claim Child Benefit can gain National Insurance credits, which can help in boosting your state pension in the long run.”

8. Contracting out

If you were part of a 'contracted out' private pension, be aware that this could affect your state pension amount,” Mr Hykin warned. “Make sure to review how much you may get.”

Checking how much a person is due to get via their state pension, known as a state pension forecast, is important, and seeking financial advice from a qualified professional is recommended.

Mr Hykin said: “It's crucial to regularly review your state pension forecast and consult with a certified advisor to explore which options align best with your financial goals and lifestyle expectations.

“Timing and individual circumstances can significantly impact the effectiveness of these strategies, so due diligence and professional advice are key."

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