Pensions update — March 2013

On 14 January 2013 the Government published a white paper detailing its plans for reforming the state pension into a “single tier” system for future pensioners. It has also published a draft Pensions Bill containing provisions to effect the changes. 

Currently the state pension system comprises two elements: the basic state pension and the State Second Pension. Entitlement to both is based on an individual’s National Insurance contribution record. Under the reformed system, there will no longer be two elements to the state pension, but a single flat rate pension set above the basic level of means-tested support. The white paper assumes a starting rate of £144 per week, but the actual rate will be set shortly before implementation. Individuals will need 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits to receive the full weekly rate. Individuals with fewer qualifying years will receive a lower pension provided they satisfy the qualifying threshold, which is yet to be decided but will be between seven and ten qualifying years. The Government intends to introduce the new system in April 2017 at the earliest. There will be transitional rules for recognising an individual’s National Insurance contribution record before implementation of the changes…

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