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How your state pension keeps its value

How your state pension keeps its value


31 Mar, 2023

Following on from our previous article* – and staying with the theme of ‘the effects of inflation on pensions’ – here we explain how your State Pension (sometimes referred to as the ‘old age pension’) retains its value …

You contribute to your State Pension by means of National Insurance Contributions (NICs), which are deducted from your pay. The rate at which you pay NICs increased in 2016 when the new Single Tier Pension was introduced. You need to pay 35 years’ worth of NICs to qualify for the full Single Tier Pension. If you contribute for more than 10 years (about eight of which must be at the higher rate) but less than 35, you will receive a proportion of the full rate commensurate with the NICs you have paid. Anyone who has less than 10 years’ contributions in total or from April 2016 will not qualify for anything from this scheme.

Currently, the full Single Tier Pension rate is £185.15 per week (so, just over £9,600 per year). This is a sum worth having, but what will it be in April 2023 and how was that increase arrived at?

In 2010 a formula called the ‘Triple Lock’ was introduced to calculate the annual increase to State Pensions. The Triple Lock mechanism, which has been used every year except 2022 when Covid-19 distorted the figures, provides for an increase worth the best of:

  • 2.5% or
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) or
  • average pay growth.

This means that – using this formula – the Single Tier Pension will rise by 10.1% (which was the CPI rate announced by the government in October 2022), giving a revised rate of £203.85 per week (just over £10,600 per year).

You may be a long way from reaching your State Pension Age (SPA), but it is not a bad idea to check your contribution record. You could do this by writing to the National Insurance Contributions Office at:

The Pension Service 9
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton WV98 1LU

Alternatively, you can click here to check online.

If you have had no breaks in your Armed Forces service, your NIC record for that period should be complete. If it is not, you need to challenge it and you will probably need the help of DBS to prove what has been paid on your behalf. If there are gaps in your record that should be there – for example, you took an unpaid career break – you can buy back up to six years’ NIC ‘cover’ by means of paying Voluntary Contributions (Class 3 NICs). More information about Voluntary Contributions can be found on this page. Finally, the SPA can change, so it is a good idea to check yours from time to time. It is quick and easy to do. Click here to keep yours under review. You can also obtain a State Pension forecast online. This could be of particular interest to you if you have not paid the higher rate of NICs long enough to qualify for the full Single Tier Pension rate and do not intend working or paying Voluntary Contributions once you leave the Armed Forces.

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If you are a member of the Forces Pension Society and have pension-related questions, email us on If you are not a member but would like to learn more about us, visit

* Click here to read our previous article on why the Consumer Price Index matters for your pension