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State pension: When will I be paid?

23 June 2021

Contrary to popular belief you do not start receiving your pension as soon as you reach state pension age.

Pension written in sand
What day will be your pension 'payday'?

For most people payment of the state pension normally begins not on the day you reach your pension age but on the next 'payday', which can be over a full week later.

If you reach state pension age on a Monday you won't get your pension until the following week because the state pension begins on a 'payday' – which is always a weekday - and the day depends on the last two digits of your National Insurance number, with NI numbers ending in a 00-19 being paid on a Monday and numbers ending 80-99 on a Friday, for example.

The only people who get their state pension from day one are those whose retirement age and birthday fall on the same day of the week.

Even the name 'payday' is misleading, as the state pension is now routinely paid four-weekly in arrears into your bank account. So you would not be paid until the following month. You can ask for it to be paid weekly in arrears.

The rules for people who reached pension age before April 6, 2010 are different - their 'payday' is normally a Monday or a Thursday and they can apply to have it paid weekly in advance.

Changes to the state pension age

The state pension age rose from 65 to 66 in October 2020. The state pension arc, however, is only going in one direction – and that is upwards. The state pension age is expected to be rising once again - to 67 - between 2026 and 2028.

Changes in life expectancy mean that the state pension age is constantly being reviewed, so other further pension changes are likely in the future.

Check out your pension ‘payday’

Check your pension 'payday' against your National Insurance number:

Last two digits of NI number and the corresponding 'Payday':

00-19: Monday
20-39: Tuesday
40-59: Wednesday
60-79: Thursday
80-99: Friday

Receiving pension payments abroad

The payments are a little different if you have left the UK. If you're living abroad you can choose to be paid every 4 or 13 weeks, but if your weekly pension is under £5 a week your payments will be paid annually in December. Your payments may also be impacted by US bank holidays as payments are processed by a US company.

Your pensions will be paid in your local currency so the amount will vary depending on exchange rates.

If you spend part of the year abroad you will need to choose whether to receive your pension in the UK or the other country.

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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.