Pensions Minister Ros Altmann clarifies changes to the State Pension

Yesterday Baroness Ros Altmann, the Pensions Minister, gave evidence to an influential group of MPs on understanding the new State Pension. She was asked to appear before the Work and Pensions Committee after it published an interim report highlighting its concerns over the information that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has so far provided about its reformed system.

Last week the DWP released figures which showed that millions of people under the age of 43 will be worse off under the new system.

During the 90-minute hearing, Baroness Altmann told the Work and Pensions Committee:

  • From April 2016 the DWP will roll out a new digital State Pension statement, which will be available online any time, anywhere. Currently, the only way to receive a statement is by contacting the DWP to ask for one.
  • Research carried out in 2015 revealed that a significant number of people didn't realise there was a link between their National Insurance contribution and their State Pension. In response to this, the DWP has released blogs and video content on its website to explain the basics about the State Pension.
  • Of the 6,000 letters the DWP sent to individuals in 2014 to tell them that the State Pension was changing, just 72 people responded to find out how they might be affected.
  • The DWP is planning to have a “major independent review” of future State Pension ages, and the department will give ten years’ notice in the event of a further change to the State Pension age.

The new State Pension was one of the Coalition Government’s flagship reforms. The full new State Pension will be £155.65 per week and takes affect from 6 April 2016. The precise weekly amount an individual will be able to claim depends on a number of factors, but is largely linked to their National Insurance record. Retirees will need to have kept their record up-to-date for 10 qualifying years to get the full rate. Last July Money Mail revealed that just one in three would be eligible for the full flat rate amount.