Eligibility for the basic State Pension



You’re eligible for the basic State Pension if you were born before:

  • 6 April 1951 if you’re a man
  • 6 April 1953 if you’re a woman

If you were born on or after these dates you must claim the new State Pension.

The earliest you can get the basic State Pension is when you reach State Pension age.

To get the full basic State Pension you need a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits. This means you were either:

If you have fewer than 30 qualifying years, your basic State Pension will be less than £134.25 per week but you might be able to top up by paying voluntary National Insurance contributions.

To get information about your basic State Pension, contact the Pension Service or the International Pension Centre if you live abroad.

Married or in a civil partnership

If you’re not eligible for a basic State Pension or you’re not getting the full amount, you might qualify for a ‘top up’ to £80.45 per week through your spouse’s or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions.

You can get the ‘top up’ if both of you have reached State Pension age and either:

  • your spouse or civil partner reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and qualifies for some basic State Pension, even if they have not claimed it
  • your spouse or civil partner reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 and has at least one qualifying year of National Insurance contributions or credits from before 6 April 2016, even if they do not qualify for any new State Pension or they have not claimed it

If your spouse or civil partner was born before 6 April 1950, you can only get the ‘top up’ if you’re a woman who is married to either:

  • a man
  • a woman who legally changed their gender from male to female during your marriage

If you’re not getting the ‘top up’ but think you qualify, contact the Pension Service.

You need to contact the Pension Service to claim your ‘top up’ if you’re a married woman and:

  • your spouse reached State Pension age before 17 March 2008
  • you reached State Pension age before your spouse

You’ll get any Additional State Pension or Graduated Retirement Benefit based on your own contributions in addition to the ‘top up’.

You do not qualify for a State Pension

If you’re not covered by any of these groups but want a State Pension you might be able to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Men born before 1945 and women born before 1950

You need more qualifying years to get a full State Pension and a certain minimum number of years to get any State Pension at all.

Number of years needed for a full State Pension Number of years needed for any State Pension
Men born before 6 April 1945 44 11
Women born before 6 April 1950 39 10

Transgender people

Your State Pension might be affected if you’re a transgender person and you:

  • were born between 24 December 1919 and 3 April 1945
  • were claiming State Pension before 4 April 2005
  • can provide evidence that your gender reassignment surgery took place before 4 April 2005

Find out more and contact the Gender Recognition team.

You do not need to do anything if you legally changed your gender and started claiming State Pension on or after 4 April 2005 – you’ll already be claiming based on your legal gender.


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