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Five years of the new State Pension

  • There are currently 1,586,618 claimants of the new State Pension1
  • From 6 April 2021 the flat rate state pension increases to £179.60 a week
  • 406,787 people (approx. 26%) receive less than £150 a week under the new State Pension
  • 429,797 claimants (approx. 27%) have a protected payment, meaning they’ve built up more benefit under the old system so under transitional arrangements receive more than the new flat rate
  • 94,516 people in receipt of the new State Pension have moved overseas – approximately 30% of these people have their pension frozen so it remains at the level when they moved overseas and never increases


The new single-tier State Pension was introduced on the 6th April 2016, replacing the old two-tier system comprising the basic and additional State Pension. The move to introduce a new ‘flat-rate’ State Pension in 2016 was aimed at reducing complexity in the system it replaced, although in reality the two systems will run alongside each other for some time to come.


Andrew Tully, technical director, Canada Life commented on the milestone:


“The State Pension is an incredibly valuable part of the retirement eco system in the UK and is playing it’s part in helping boost the retirement income prospects of millions of people. However, the State Pension is far from generous, with the onus really on individuals to take personal responsibility to save if they wish to enjoy their retirements.


“The state system is complex and difficult to navigate, but there are two key takeaways. Firstly, go online and spend two minutes checking your State Pension age, as the goal posts continue to move, especially for younger people. Secondly, use the online system to get a forecast of your State Pension which will confirm your likely entitlement. If there are gaps in your NI records, the earlier you know the sooner you can take steps to address the problem.


“A financial adviser will be best placed to not only help you plan for your retirement but also help you navigate the State Pension system.”


New State Pension Factoids

  • There are currently 1,586,618 claimants of the new State Pension1
  • You need 35 years NI records to qualify for the full new State Pension
  • As at April 2019, 7,819,400 working age people had the full 35 years NI record2
  • 406,7871 people receive less than £150 a week under the new State Pension
  • Transitional arrangements mean anyone with a NI record as at 6th April 2016 could receive more or less than the full rate of the new State Pension with the full 35 years NI record, depending on their individual circumstances
  • Your state pension age is based on your birth date. Currently it is age 66 for men and women (it moves to age 67 and then 68 for younger people, although there are no current plans to extend it further)
  • 94,516 people in receipt of the new State Pension have moved overseas1
  • Top five overseas destinations are Australia (11,620 people), followed by Spain (10,765 people), Ireland (10,458 people), France (9,569 people) and USA (7,919 people)1
  • 27,871 people who have moved abroad have had their new State Pension frozen, meaning it doesn’t increase in line with the current triple lock guarantee1
  • The State Pension increases each year in line with the triple lock guarantee, which is the higher of inflation, earnings or 2.5%
  • The new State Pension has increased by 15.4%3 since April 2016 (from £155.65 a week to £179.60 from April 2021)
  • To buy the equivalent new State Pension of £179.60 a week would cost you around £320,0004 using an inflation-linked annuity at today’s rates
  • You can elect to stop/start your pension once in payment, but only once. In 2018/19 14,300 people elected to stop received their state pension while a further 1,500 chose to restart5


  1. Source:
  2. Source: FOI submitted by Canada Life to DWP and replied to on 17.2.21. Copy available on request.
  1. Since 2011/12, the following benchmarks have been used for the annual uprating in line with the triple lock guarantee.



4.6% (RPI)*


5.2% (CPI)


2.5% (minimum uplift)


2.7% (CPI)


2.5% (minimum uplift)


2.9% (earnings)


2.5% (minimum uplift)


3.0% (CPI)


2.6% (earnings)


4.0% (earnings)


2.5% (minimum uplift)

*RPI subsequently changed to CPI in the following years


  1. Source: Canada Life analysis of Money Advice Service annuity tables, RPI linked annuity of £320,000 would provide an annual income of £9,306.
  2. Source: Freedom of Information request by Canada Life to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), replied to on 21st November 2019. The FOI has been replied to based on DWP administrative data. A full copy of the FOI is available upon request.


The DWP has provided the following explanatory note:

Caseload figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.  The average increment estimate is based on a 5% sample of State Pension claims. The estimate should be treated with caution due to the small sample of cases that have been identified as re-starting their State Pension claim and appear in the 5% sample of claims.’

  1. Check your state pension age here: