Soon-to-be retirees in the dark over new state pension

The new state pension system comes in on Wednesday. Picture: William Burlingham

The new state pension system comes in on Wednesday. Picture: William Burlingham

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Many people approaching retirement are still in the dark about aspects of the new state pension, according to research from Which?

From Wednesday, the new state pension system will take effect, which will affect people reaching retirement age on or after that day and aims to be easier to understand.

Which? found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of 50 to 64-year-olds are aware the changes are coming in, rising to 80 per cent of those aged between 60 and 64.

But many people were unclear on the details of how the new system will work. Some 44 per cent of people did not know what the full rate of the new state pension will be from Wednesday.

The full new single-tier state pension will be £155.65 a week. Usually people will need at least ten years of qualifying National Insurance (NI) contributions to get any state pension.

And only 18 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed knew if they had ever been contracted out of the state pension. Being contracted out for even a short period of time could leave people with a much smaller pension than they were expecting.

Which? has produced a state pension guide to explains how the changes will impact people currently receiving or soon to be receiving their state pension and includes a state pension age calculator.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “Next week sees major changes to the state pension, which forms a core part of many people’s retirement income.

“While it’s promising to see that awareness of the upcoming changes is high, we’re only half way there. More needs to be done to make sure that people understand what the changes are and what they mean for them.”

Pensions Minster Ros Altmann, said: “It is vital that people check what their state pension is likely to be, especially when planning their future later life income.

“The government is introducing a new state pension system which will be easier to understand and a new digital online individual state pension forecast will be available to make things much easier.

Gareth Shaw, head of consumer affairs at Saga Investment Services, said: “The current system is horribly complicated, and the new single-tier will eventually wave away this complexity. But today’s generation of state pensioners need more help understanding what they’re entitled to.”

The Which? state pension guide can be found at www.which.co.uk/money/retirement/guides/whats-happening-with-the-state-pension-in-2016/.

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