Decline in state pension numbers after eligible age increase

15 Aug 19

The number of people receiving the state pension has fallen by 120,000 over the course of a year, government statistics have shown. 

Nathan Long, senior analyst at investment group Hargreaves Lansdown, suggested to PF that the decrease is a result of fewer new claimants after an increase in state pension age, which began in December 2018.  

The age has risen for any new claimants up until October 2020 from 65 to 66, and will then increase to 67 by 2028.

Long said this was part of the government’s plan to get to grips with an aging population. 

He said: “Waiting longer for your state pension is having the desired effect for the government, as the overall number claiming pensions dropped.

“A delay in receiving the bedrock of your retirement income isn’t popular, but is necessary against a backdrop of people living longer.”

The data, which covers the period of February 2018 to February 2019, found that average state pension weekly amounts rose by £5.36 to £144.32.

At February 2019 there were 1.1 million recipients of the new state pension, which the Department of Work and Pensions introduced for people reaching state pension age from April 2016. 

The government said that the new state pension has reduced the gap between the average weekly amounts for men and women as women typically get more under the new rules.

But due to timetabled pension age increase for women, fewer have reached state pension age compared to men.

There remains an gender imbalance in pension top-ups, with 64% of those claiming pensions credits being female.

Stephen Lowe, communications director at Just Group, retirement financial services specialists, said: “It is positive to see the gender pay gap closing for state pension but of course we are still a long way from true pension parity, as shown by figures that reveal nearly two-thirds of claimants for pension credits are women.”

The overall number of pension credit recipients fell by 110,000 to 1.6 million between February 2018 and February 2019.

The DWP said: “The downward trend in overall pension credit caseload is partly due to the raising of the state pension age, among other factors.”

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