Tips on topping up your state pension

David Hill INLT 45-099-PSB
David Hill INLT 45-099-PSB

This week the opportunity opens to top up state pension entitlement for those who are already receiving the state pension and for those who will receive it before 6th April.

It will be possible to increase the state pension by up to £25 per week and the cost will vary depending on age.

But will it be good value to buy extra state pension?

The answer, as is often the case with pensions, is not straightforward.

In a nutshell, it depends how long you are going to live in retirement.

For those in poor health it is unlikely to be good value as it will cost a 65 year old £890 to buy an extra £1 per week; although half of the extra pension will continue to be paid to a surviving spouse or civil partner.

But instead of focusing on what happens if you die, the question that should be asked is what happens if you live?

In other words, this extra pension will continue to be paid every week no matter how long you live and on top of that, the pension will increase by CPI inflation every year.

The rate of return on the state pension top up is significantly better than an annuity that can be bought with a private pension.

The best potential value for money will be for someone who will be a non-tax payer in retirement and the worst potential value for money will be for higher or additional rate tax-payers.

Care should also be taken if you are likely to be in receipt of means tested benefits at some point in retirement as any extra pension that is received as a result of buying a top-up could be negated by a loss of entitlement to benefits.

More information and online calculators can be found at

David Hill is a Chartered Financial Planner and Independent Financial Adviser based at Hills Financial Planning, 15 Agnew Street, Larne.

He can be contacted on 028 28276814, by email at or see

David Hill’s column appears regularly in the Times newspapers and on our websites.

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