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The new state pension set to increase from April 2017

From April 2017, it has been announced that the new state pension will increase from £155.65 per week to £159.55 and the old state pension will rise from £119.30 to £122.30.

We do receive queries, sometimes complaints, from customers that their pension has not increased at all or by the right amount. Here is a quick guide to some of those queries.

  • The “triple lock” works by increasing the State pension by the highest of; average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%. The 2.5% bites for April 2017 as prices and earnings have increased by lower amounts over the period in question.
  • The triple lock only applies to the basic pension not to the Additional state pension e.g. SERPS, which increases in line with the consumer price index.
  • If you live abroad, the State pension only increase if you live in the European Economic Area (EEA), Gibraltar or Switzerland or a country that has a social security agreement with the UK. The State pension does not increase if you live in Canada, New Zealand or Australia. If you want more information on which country applies you can find out here
  • If you have a defined benefit pension from a past employment, this is typically revalued from date of leaving to the date you draw benefits. Revaluation rates do vary between schemes and different periods of service but are typically based on inflation with a maximum cap. And there are different measure of inflation used by different schemes (RPI or CPI) depending on their rules. The triple lock does not apply to these increases.
  • Similarly, the pension once in payment will increase. More recently, pensions from most defined benefit schemes have escalated in payment by inflation with a maximum cap. And you may find that different elements of your pension increase at different rates depending on the period of service to which that element of pension related to, as the rules have changed over time. Some pension may not have any increases applied because, historically, schemes were not obliged to grant increases. It is important to check the scheme booklet for the exact increases that apply to you, or your scheme administrator will be able to clarify this.
  • Increases to private occupational pensions do apply even if you live abroad.
  • If you have bought an annuity with the proceeds of a pension, then you will have chosen the increase basis when you made the purchase. This may be in line with inflation; may be a fixed increase; or there may be no increases. It depends on what you selected when setting up the annuity policy.
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