Reader’s Question: What will happen to my Basic State Pension when I get divorced?

4 min Read Published: 04 Apr 2011

Reader's question.

Will I get my state pension increased when I get a divorce as I get a reduced one now? Also does any private pension that I receive get taken into account?

My response

Women, whether married or single, are entitled to claim the Basic State Pension (BSP) on reaching State Pension Age (SPA). The amount available is dependent on the number of qualifying years (in which they paid National Insurance contributions - NICs) they have and whether they reach SPA before or after 6 April 2010. For those retiring before 6th April 2010 the number of qualifying years to get the full BSP was 39. For those retiring after 6th April 2010 the number of qualifying years was reduced to 30.

To allow for the fact that some women may not have enough qualifying years, due to them being stay at home mums at some point in their lives and therefore not earning, they may be able to claim a higher state pension based on their husband's NICs.

So by being married you will either have a BSP based on your own record or your husband's record if your record is insufficient. Being married won't reduce your BSP entitlement as you seem to suggest.

Furthermore, if you are using your husband's NIC record, upon divorce, you can substitute the record of your former spouse for the period up to when your marriage ended, or the end of the tax year before you reached state pension age, whichever comes first.

Your private pension does not affect your entitlement to BSP. For more information on the BSP visit Basic State Pension on the Direct.gov website.

How to boost your Basic State Pension

There are ways to boost your basic state pension if you are receiving or due to receive a reduced level. See my article Reader’s Question – How do I boost my state pension?

But I must stress that around 70,000 people, mainly women, have only until tomorrow to boost their Basic State Pension and get backdated pension payments. People who have reached, or will reach, State Pension age between April 2008 and April 2011 and don’t get a full Basic State Pension, could increase their payment and get it backdated, if they buy back National Insurance contributions by 5th April 2011. The special offer allows this group to buy back up to six years of voluntary contributions as far back as 1975. After 6th April 2011 they will still be able to buy back missing years and boost their state pension but it will be more expensive, plus the increase will not be backdated. For more information see the Department for Work and Pensions website.

I hope that helps

Best Wishes

Damo

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