Getting the additional State Pension
The additional State Pension, or State Second Pension, is paid in addition to the basic State Pension. You can start getting any additional State Pension when you claim your basic State Pension.
How to claim the additional State Pension
Your entitlement to additional State Pension is calculated when you claim the basic State Pension.
Your entitlement may come from SERPS (the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme) or from the State Second Pension.
The Pension Service will normally send you the relevant forms and invite you to make a claim about four months before you reach State Pension age. For men this is 65 and 60 for women born on or before 5 April 1950. The State Pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1950 will increase from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. It will increase for both men and women from age 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046.
If you don't receive a letter inviting you to claim your pension, call The Pension Service on 0800 731 7898. Opening hours are 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturday.
- Changes to the State Pension age
SERPS - protecting your entitlement
Until April 2002, the additional State Pension for employees was called the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). The amount of SERPS pension you received was based on a combination of the amount of your National Insurance contributions, and how much you earned.
In April 2002, SERPS was reformed and the additional State Pension is now known as the State Second Pension. Any SERPS entitlement you have is protected - so if you built up an entitlement to additional State Pension before April 2002 you will keep it, whether or not you've already reached State Pension age.
Spouse or civil partner inheritance of the additional pension
A widow, widower or surviving civil partner can only inherit a maximum of 50 per cent of their spouse's or civil partner's State Second Pension.
If you contributed to SERPS the maximum percentage of your SERPS pension that your widow, widower or surviving civil partner could inherit is on a sliding scale depending on when you were born and the age at which you retired.
The percentages range from 50 per cent for men born on or after 6 October 1945 or women born on or after 6 July 1950, up to 100 per cent for men born on or before 5 October 1937 or women born on or before 5 October 1942.
You can check the maximum percentage SERPS pensions for a surviving spouse or civil partner in The Pensions Service booklet, 'Important information for married people - Inheritance of SERPS'.
- Download Important information for married people - Inheritance of SERPS (SERPSL1) (PDF, 393K)
Contracting out effect on additional State Pension
While you are contracted out, you will not normally be entitled to receive the additional State Pension. Instead, you may either pay reduced National Insurance contributions or receive a rebate of contributions you've previously made. This depends on the type of scheme you are in.
Any rebate you receive is paid into a pension schemewhich is usedprovide you with income in place of the additional State Pension.
From 6 April 2012 you will no longer be able to contract out of the additional State Pension, also known as the State Second Pension, through:
- a personal or stakeholder pension
- a company pension or occupational pension scheme which is contracted out on what is called a money purchase or defined contribution basis
You will begin to build up entitlement to the additional State Pension from this time.
- Download 'Employee factsheet' (PDF, 34K)
More useful links
You can write to The Pension Service at:
PO Box 1005
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0845 606 0265
Fax: 0191 218 6061
The offices are open from Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
- Retirement checklist: who to notify, when and why
- More about pensions for Britons living abroad (Britons living abroad section)
- Download the FSA factsheet 'Contracting out of the State Second Pension' (PDF document, 80K) Opens new window
- Help with PDF files
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