Early retirement, your pension and benefits



State Pension

The earliest you can get your State Pension is when you reach your State Pension age. You’ll have to wait to claim your State Pension if you retire before you reach that age.

The amount you’ll get

The amount you’ll get depends on your National Insurance record and when you reach State Pension age.

You’ll claim basic State Pension and Additional State Pension if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

You’ll claim the new State Pension if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.

Personal and workplace pensions

When you can take money from your pension pot will depend on your pension scheme’s rules, but it’s usually after you’re 55.

You may be able to take money out before this age if either:

  • you’re retiring early because of ill health
  • you had the right under the scheme you joined before 6 April 2006 to take your pension before you’re 55 – ask your pension provider if you’re not sure

Some companies offer to help you get money out of your pension before you’re 55. This could be an unauthorised payment. If it’s unauthorised, you pay up to 55% tax on it.

The pension pot that you build up will probably be smaller if you retire early, because it’s had less time to increase in value.

Taking your pension early because of ill health

You might be able to get higher payments if you need to take your pension early because of a health condition. Check with your provider.

If your life expectancy is less than a year

You may be able to take your whole pension pot as a tax-free lump sum if all of the following apply to you:

  • you’re expected to live less than a year because of serious illness
  • you’re under 75
  • you do not have more than the lifetime allowance of ÂŁ1,073,100 in pension savings

If you’re over 75 you’ll pay Income Tax on the lump sum.

Check with your pension provider. Some pension funds will keep at least 50% of your pension pot for your spouse or civil partner.


The amount of money you get from any income-related benefits could be affected if you take your pension early, such as money you get from:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

Benefits if you retire early because of ill health

If you retire early because of ill health you may be entitled to other benefits. Use a benefits calculator to check.

Get help

Pension Wise has information about how taking a personal or workplace pension early can affect your benefits.

You can also get help from:


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