Over 14,000 people opted to suspend receiving their State Pension in 2018/19

  • FOI reveals 14,300 people chose to stop receiving their State Pension in 2018/19
  • A further 1,500 people requested to re-start their State Pension in 2018/19
  • The average increase in weekly payment paid to those who chose to re-start their State Pension in 2018/19 was £44.50

A Freedom of Information request (FOI) submitted by Canada Life1 has revealed over 14,000 people opted to stop receiving their State Pension in 2018/19 tax year. Canada Life is highlighting this little known area of flexibility within the system, but also highlighting that people in receipt of a State Pension can only opt to suspend and re-start it on one occasion after it is in payment.

The rules differ depending upon whether people reached state pension age (SPA) before or after 6 April 2016. Those reaching SPA before April 2016 can get an enhanced State Pension when they re-start – the weekly payment is enhanced by 10.4% for each year it is suspended. Alternatively a lump sum can be taken equivalent to the sum of the payments suspended plus interest at least 2% above the Bank of England base rate. For those who reach SPA from 6 April 2016 the terms are less generous - the enhancement is 5.8% for each year it is suspended, and there is no option to take a lump sum.

The FOI shows 1,500 people elected to re-start their State Pension in 2018/19, receiving on average £44.50 a week extra payment.

Andrew Tully, technical director, Canada Life explains:

“State Pensions form the bedrock of most people’s financial plans in retirement. Financial planning experts often talk about the merits of deferring it if the income isn’t required at your state pension age, but the ability to be able to stop / start once you are in receipt of it is not a well-known area of the system.

“DWP data shows over 14,000 people elected to stop receiving their State Pension in the 2018/19 tax year. This could be for a number of reasons, most likely is the simple fact they didn’t need the income and were looking to manage their tax liability, either because they returned to work or continued in paid work, or possibly because they received an inheritance.

“This sort of flexibility is common in the private pension sector, where people are able to turn income on and off from pensions using the right products, but is not a well understood part of the State Pension system. A regulated financial adviser will be best placed to not only help explain the myriad of choices available when you are considering accessing your pension savings for the first time, but will also keep you on the right track as you progress on your retirement journey.”


1. 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.’