State Pension payments are overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), responsible for ensuring everyone gets the amount to which they are entitled. At state pension age, Britons can expect to become entitled to a sum which is usually dependent on the National Insurance contributions made up throughout their lifetime. The state pension, for many, is a primary source of income in retirement, so understanding when one becomes entitled is key.
However, it is worth noting the state pension age is currently under change, and this could impact not only when a person chooses to retire, but also potentially their entitlement to a free bus pass.
With more people spending a higher proportion of their adult lives in retirement than ever before, the Government is adjusting the state pension age.
This is to make sure it is both affordable and fair for the Government and those in receipt of the sum.
Previously, the state pension age was set at 60 for women and 65 for men, but the process has been slowly changing in recent years.
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State pension age parity was reached, meaning women and men could expect to retire at the same age, but further changes have occurred.
In October 2020, the state pension age for both genders hit 66, and additional increases are on the horizon.
At present, for those born on or before April 5, 1970, there will be no changes to the state pension age.
Individuals who were born between April 6, 1970 and April 5, 1978 currently have a state pension age of 67.
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However, this will increase, depending on date of birth, to between 67 years and 1 month and 68 years of age.
Individuals born after April 6, 1978 also have no change but can expect to retire at 68.
For some older people, understanding an entitlement to a free bus pass is equally important as knowing when they will be able to get their state pension from the Government.
This varies around the country, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland residents, as well as those living in London, often being able to unlock a free bus pass at age 60.
However, for residents of England, the rules slightly vary and so it is important to pay attention.
Rules state individuals living in England can only make a claim for a free bus pass once they reach the female state pension age – regardless of their gender.
This appears to be an older rule which dates back to before state pension age parity, but can still have an impact today.
With the entitlement tied to the female state pension age, as this age is increased it is likely to affect when a person can claim their free bus pass.
Unless the rule is changed in the future, residents of England can expect to wait longer before becoming entitled.
With changes taking place, it may be difficult for people to keep up with when they will become eligible for the state pension and the free bus pass.
However, the Government’s online tool on the state pension age is designed to help people better understand their situation.
The Government explains: “Use this tool to check when you’ll reach state pension age, when you’ll be eligible for free bus travel and your Pension Credit qualifying age.”
The tool is accessible through the Government’s official website for those who are interested in finding out more.