Budget 2021: Sunak announces pension lifetime allowance freeze
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Free bus passes, or an older person’s bus pass, can be received by those who reach the female state pension age in England, regardless of their actual gender. As it stands, the female state pension age is 66 but it will be rising over the coming years.
In previous years, the female state pension age was 60 but following a controversial Pensions Act introduced in 2011, the female state pension age was increased to 65 to match the male pension age.
There were originally plans in place to equalise the state pension ages among the genders but this Act sped up the process and it particularly affected women born in the 1950s.
Going forward, the state pension age for both men and women will increase in tandem and under the current schedule, it will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
It will then rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
Additionally, the Government recently changed the way in which the increase in state pension age is phased, so that rather than reaching it on a specific date, people born between April 6 1960 and March 5 1961 will reach their retirement age at 66 years and a specified number of months.
With all these changes, it can be difficult to know exactly when one can retire but the Government provides a free-to-use tool on their website which allows users to get an exact date for when they can apply for a state pension and/or free bus pass.
To apply for a free bus pass, claimants will need to contact their local council.
Each council may have different application processes but when claiming a state pension itself, claimants will largely utilise the same routes.
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State pension claims can be made up to four months before a person reaches their actual state pension age.
The quickest way to do this is by applying online.
However, they can also be applied for over the phone or through the post.
To be eligible for a state pension a person will need to have at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt.
The full amount of £179.60 per week will require 35 years of contributions.
Once a claim has been put through, initial payments may take up to five weeks to come through.
Following this, payments will come through every four weeks.
Claimants may get part of a payment before full payments arrive but claimants will be kept in the loop on this.
The actual payment date(s) will be dependent on the claimants National Insurance number.
The final two digits of a National Insurance number will determine the payment day of the week, as detailed below:
- 00 to 19 – Monday
- 20 to 39 – Tuesday
- 40 to 59 – Wednesday
- 60 to 79 – Thursday
- 80 to 99 – Friday
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