Money saving expert Martin Lewis has shared his tips on how pensioners can get to grips with their money, as many wait to find out if state pensions will increase in line with the Conservative Party’s previous “triple lock” promise that will see a 10.1% rise by April 2023. “The state pension is not only notoriously complicated, it’s also a political hot potato” he advised his subscribers.
“Now’s a good time to check that you’re getting paid everything you’re due (or that you’re on track if you’re not yet 66)” he wrote in his latest weekly email. “Everyone’s situation is different, though - so treat this as ‘things to check’, and then explore further if you think they might apply to you.”
His first piece of advice to pensioners is to check how much state pension you are currently getting or may receive based on when you were born, how long you’ve been paying National Insurance and even what type of private pension you saved into during your working life.
In his calculations to readers, Lewis used the theory that if someone reached state pension age on or after 6 April, 2016, the maximum new state pension is £185.15 a week. If someone reached state pension age before 6 April, 2016 then their maximum basic state pension is £141.85 a week.
“Yet some people will get less than this and some will get more” Lewis is quick to mention “If you’re not yet at state pension age, check your state pension forecast to see how much you’re on track to get. And whether you’re yet to claim or already claiming, read on to see whether you can boost your (future) amount.
What other tips did Martin Lewis have for pensioners?
Aged 45-70? Can you turn £800 into £5,500 by paying to boost your state pension? State pension payouts are based on the number of ‘qualifying national insurance years’ you have. Most people acquire these while working or when getting National Insurance credits (for example, for bringing up children). But if you have ‘gaps’ in your NI years record, you can often pay £100s to fill them, which could mean £1,000s of extra pension.
If you’re already claiming a state pension, Lewis writes that those people should urgently check if they qualify for a £3,300 per year top up. “It’s a national tragedy that there are around 800,000 people who qualify for pension credit but aren’t currently claiming it” he wrote.
“If you’ve reached state pension age and have an income less than £190 a week, it’s worth checking whether you qualify - the average payout is about £3,300 a year. Plus, claiming pension credit also entitles you to other boons, such as the £324 cost-of-living payment, a free TV licence, council tax reductions & more. Check if you’re eligible for Pension credit.”
Lewis also writes that around 230,000 women have been underpaid their state pension due to errors with the Department for Work and Pensions’ computer systems. Some women who hit state pension age before April 2016 are being underpaid - especially those that are married, including widows and divorcees, and those over 80 regardless of their marital status.
“Some affected women will get an automatic payout, but not all will. Find out if this affects you and how to get what you’re due.”
Lewis rounded off his advice to pensioners with a bonus tip, reminding people to check any old pension pots that may still be in existence from older job roles.