State pension failure – if you make this mistake you will get NOTHING at age 66 | Personal finance | Finance

Yet some people end up waiting even longer to get their state pension, when they don’t need to. It’s because they make a simple mistake as they approach retirement age.

The mistake might seem basic, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. In fact, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says this is the main reason people don’t receive their state pension at age 66.

Many people assume that they automatically get the state pension once they reach retirement age, but this is not the case.

You have to claim it. People don’t realize it and pass it by.

About two months before you turn 66, the Pensions Service should write to you to explain what will happen next.

They will send you an “Invite Code” to activate your state pension application. This step is up to you, so you need to take action.

The fastest way is to activate it online.

Alternatively, call the Pensions Service on 0800 731 7898 to get a state pension application form by post.

If you do nothing, you will not receive any state pension. It’s so simple.

However, you do not have to wait for this letter from the Pensions Department.

If you are within four months of statutory retirement age, you can go ahead and apply.

This can reassure you and ensure you get the money as soon as possible.

However, even if you do this, you do not receive the state pension when you reach the age of 66, but you have to be a little more patient.

As the government-funded MoneyHelper website explains, your first payment will typically be made within five weeks of reaching state retirement age.

After that, you should receive a full payment every four weeks. However, if you prefer, you can request that your state pension be paid weekly.

The good news is that you don’t lose money if you fail to claim immediately. So there’s no need to panic if you’ve forgotten or misplaced your state pension invitation.

READ MORE: State pension payments could stop for thousands of months – act now

As long as you apply within 12 months of retirement age, you can apply for payments backdated to the start of your entitlement.

If you leave it longer than that, you’ll get a higher weekly sum to make up for any income you missed.

You don’t have to take your state pension at 66 if you don’t want to, you can actively choose to delay taking it and claim more income later.

This is called state pension deferral.

For every nine weeks that your state pension is deferred, you’ll get 1% extra income for the rest of your life. By deferring for a full year, you will get 5.8% more. The minimum deferral period is five weeks.

Working longer also allows you to contribute more to an occupational or personal pension, which should further increase your income when you finally retire.

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Postponement works best for those who are fit, healthy, and want to keep working. It won’t suit those who are in poor health or just need the maximum amount today, which is the vast majority of people.

If you need to claim immediately, pay attention to this DWP letter.

You can get information on how to check your eligibility and make a claim by freephone on 0800 99 1234, or by visiting Gov.uk/new-state-pension/how-to-claim.

Anyone can get a free state pension forecast by visiting Gov.uk/check-state-pension.

This will give you an estimate of what you might receive. But only if you actively claim it.

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