Friday, 7 November 2014

Confused! (And I thought I'd worked this out)

My State Pension saga again. Here are the essential bits of the story so far. First, words in a letter dated 29 July 2014 from the Department of Work & Pensions, inviting me to claim my pension (which I did):

There you are. I reach State Pension Age on 6 November 2014. Which was yesterday. Hooray!

6 November 2014 is perfectly in accordance with other official information I've seen online, giving the deferred State Pension Age dates for women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1953 - for instance, in a table that can be seen at I was born on 6 July 1952, and so this table confirms that my State Pension Age (originally 6 July 2012, my 60th birthday) has been deferred to 6 November 2014. This is part of the process for equalising the State Pension Ages of men and women.

Next, words in a letter dated 4 August 2014 from the Department, giving me their decision on the pension that I would be entitled to:

My pension 'starts' on 8 November 2014, which is tomorrow. I put the word 'starts' in inverted commas, because I do not expect to see a credit to my bank account tomorrow morning. Oh no. Nowadays they pay State pensions four-weekly in arrears. This is explained at, where they say this:

How it’s paid
The day your pension is paid depends on your National Insurance number.

Last 2 digits of your National Insurance number    Day your State Pension gets paid
00 to 19                                                                    Monday
20 to 39                                                                    Tuesday
40 to 59                                                                    Wednesday
60 to 79                                                                    Thursday
80 to 99                                                                    Friday

Your first payment is made at the end of the first full week after you reach State Pension age.  It won’t include the time between reaching State Pension age and your normal payment day if that’s less than 1 week.

The basic State Pension is usually paid every 4 weeks into an account of your choice. You’re paid ‘in arrears’, ie you’re paid for the last 4 weeks, not for the coming 4 weeks.

The last two digits of my National Insurance number are 97, so my 'payment day' is Friday. I will always be paid on a Friday.

But when will the first payment be made? They don't actually say. But if you take 'four weeks' to be 28 days (four lots of seven days), then 28 days counted from Saturday 8 November (and including that day) will bring you to Friday 5 December.

However, those words Your first payment is made at the end of the first full week after you reach State Pension age. It won’t include the time between reaching State Pension age and your normal payment day if that’s less than 1 week are (to my very literal brain) pretty confusing and contradictory. What do those two sentences mean? After some thought, I think the words in them also point to Friday 5 December as the first payment date. Thus:

# State Pension Age reached on Thursday 6 November.
# The next following Friday is 7 November (today), which is less than a full week. So ignore that Friday.
# The next Friday after 6 November that does encompass a full week of seven days is Friday 14 November.
# If paid weekly in arrear, my first payment would be on 14 November.
# But it's actually every four weeks in arrear, so my first payment will in fact be on 5 December.

Phew. I'm sure it's me whose brain is scrambled, and not up to interpreting simple English! (It could be the HRT)

They say elsewhere in their letter dated 4 August that 'We will tell you when the first payment will be made and how much it is for'. Fine. But when will I be told? If the first State Pension payment won't reach my bank account on 5 December, but is delayed, then I'll have to do some serious financial juggling to meet certain big payments out in early December. That'll be a real problem until they tell actually me.


  1. I was entitled to State Pension from 21/11/13. The letter from the DWP, titled "Award Notice and Statement of Details", which did indeed detail precise dates and payments, is dated 8/8/13 but probably didn't arrive until the middle of the following week - so about 14 weeks before my entitlement date. On that reckoning, you should have had your own "Awards Notice and Statement of Details" several weeks ago.

    I reckon it's worth a phone call to find out what's happened.

    Bonne chance
    Angie x

  2. Thanks, Angie. I phoned the DWP as soon as I read your advice. They'll be ringing me back after the weekend, apparently Monday morning!



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