Could you top-up your state pension?

Chris Torney / 29 July 2015 ( 22 March 2017 )

Millions of people can top-up their state pension by up to £25 a week by paying a one-off lump sum. Who is eligible and how do top-ups work?

Millions of older men and women have the opportunity to boost their State Pension entitlement.

This could increase their weekly pension payouts by as much as £25, but the chance to top-up is open only for a relatively short time - you must act before April 5, 2017, if you want to take advantage.

Who is eligible to top-up their pension?

The top-ups are only for people who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 – the date when the new state pension system came into effect.

For men, this means those who were born before 6 April 1951 and for women, those born before 6 April 1953.

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When can top-ups be made?

The period during which individuals can make top-ups runs until April 5, 2017.

Did you know that you can also boost your state pension by deferring it? Find out more...

How do the top-ups work?

Anyone who is eligible can boost their weekly State Pension entitlement by between £1 and £25 a week by paying a one-off lump sum to the government.

The size of the lump sum depends on an individual’s age and how much they want to increase their state pension payments: the younger they are and the greater the boost they want, the bigger the lump sum.

For example, for a 65-year-old, an extra £10 of pension a week will be £8,900, whereas for a 75-year-old the lump sum needed for the same amount of extra pension will be £6,740.

Why is the government allowing top-ups?

The new State Pension system, which was introduced in April 2016, is more generous than current arrangements. The top-ups mean that people who didn’t retire under the new scheme can still obtain similarly generous pensions.

Pensions minister Baroness Altmann says the top-ups are: “particularly attractive for those who haven’t had the chance to build additional State Pension, such as some women and self-employed people”.

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Should I top up?

The government says that not everyone will benefit from topping up, and that professional advice should be sought. The people who will gain most are those who live longest after topping up – but this is impossible to predict.

How can I find out more?

People can top up online or by calling the government’s dedicated phone line on 0345 600 4270.

A State Pension top up calculator is also available on the government’s website: this illustrates contribution rates based on age and the size of the pension boost.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.