The new state pension, introduced in April, includes a change in the rules that means you have to have ten years of National Insurance contributions to get any state pension. The government will write to women who currently aren’t due to receive a penny in state pension.
Q. What is the government doing?
A. The government says it will write to people who haven’t paid enough National Insurance to get the minimum of ten years needed to get any state pension age all. Although this group won’t be exclusively women, it’s mainly women who are affected.
Q. Why is the government writing to this group?
A. The government was strongly criticised by the Work and Pensions Committee for the way it’s been publicising the new state pension. The committee said that the government’s communication ‘failings’ meant that many people didn’t know what they’d get from the new state pension. It said even those who will be better off under the new system didn’t know this.
It recommended that the government write to two groups:
- People who have fewer than ten years of National Insurance. Under the new state pension system, they won’t get any state pension at all.
- People who are due to get a smaller state pension than they would have been able to claim on their husband or civil partner’s National Insurance record.
The government will write to the first group, if they are nine years away or less from their state pension age and who do not have enough National Insurance to get any kind of state pension. However, it will not write to the second group. It said that it couldn’t predict who would be in the second group.
Q. What else is the government doing?
A. The committee recommended that the government set up a state pensions information hotline for people who were confused about the new state pension to call. The government has decided against this.
The committee also recommended that the government sends out annual statements to people aged 50 or over, telling them how much state pension they have built up. The government isn’t going to do this but it is looking at whether it can add pension information to letters from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs, which someone would get anyway (for example, telling them about benefit or tax changes).
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