The UK Government has agreed to write to an estimated 100,000 people who won’t receive the New State Pension, following recommendations from the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.
The cross-party group of MPs recommended that the government warn people who it believes will reach pension age with fewer than 10 years of National Insurance contributions – the ‘Minimum Qualifying Period’ – who will get less from the New State Pension than they would have under the old system.
“These letters should clearly explain the person’s circumstances and set out both projected entitlements and means of improving them”, the committee said.
Ministers have also agreed to promote and enhance the Check your State Pension service, which gives an individual’s forecast state pension.
Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “The Committee has encountered untold confusion among people who wanted to know the value of their state pension, and who had received little or no communication from the Government.
“It looks as though the Government will begin to apply the lessons from our evidence, by writing to people who do not meet the minimum criteria for the new state pension.
“We very much welcome this initiative.”
Steve Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, welcomed the announcement but called on the government to go “much further”, by sending everyone a personalised projection “with an estimate of what state pension they are on target to receive”.
Mr Cameron said: “We warmly welcome the Government having agreed to write individually to the estimated 100,000 individuals who don’t have sufficient NI contributions to qualify for the new state pension.
“It is vital that this group understands this as early as possible rather than facing a shock at state pension age. Some may be able to take steps to improve their retirement prospects either through paying extra voluntary NI contributions or by contributing to a workplace or private pension.
“But this is just a first step and we urge the Government to go much further and write directly to every individual to provide them with an estimate of what state pension they are on target to receive. This should then be updated periodically.
“Our research shows that millions of individuals have no clear understanding of how much or how little they may receive as a state pension. While people can now request a projection, the majority will not think of doing so.
“Sending out individual personalised state pension forecasts would mean individuals could look at these alongside their private pension forecasts, take stock of whether they are doing enough for the retirement they aspire to, and if not take early action.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We’re committed to being transparent about any changes to the state pension.
“Almost half a million people have already responded to our call to check their pension forecast online, which is enabling them to better plan for the future.”