One of the great benefits of a workplace or private pension scheme is that you can usually start taking money out of them from the age of 55, which is over 10 years earlier than you can claim your State Pension.
If you’re a member of a workplace pension scheme, you generally require the consent of the employer or ex-employer to take benefits early and in some instances, you may also need the consent of the pension scheme trustees.
If you have a private pension, you don’t need the consent of an employer or the pension provider to take benefits early – if the terms and conditions of your contract allow you to do this.
However, State Pension cannot be claimed until a person has reached State Pension age, which is now 66 for everyone across the UK, you can check your State Pension forecast on the GOV.UK website.
Anyone can use this service to find out:
how much State Pension you could get
when you can get it
how to increase it, if you can
You cannot use the service if you’re already getting your State Pension or if you have deferred claiming it.
To check your State Pension forecast you will need to prove your identity. This can be done in a number of ways depending on your circumstances.
Sign in with Government Gateway
You will have a user ID if you have signed up to do things like file your Self Assessment tax return online or log into your Universal Credit account.
Sign in with GOV.UK Verify
You will have this account if you’ve already provided your identity with either Barclays, Digidentity, Experian, Post Office or SecureIdentity.
Sign in with a digital identity from another European country
If you’re part of an ID scheme in a participating country, you may be able to use it here.
Create an account
If you do not already have one of these accounts, GOV.UK will help you choose whether to use Government Gateway or GOV.UK Verify.
Choose a way to prove your identity
You can use your user ID for things like your personal or business tax account, Self Assessment, Corporation Tax, PAYE for employers and VAT.
GOV.UK Verify works best if you’re over 20 years old. You’ll need:
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You can use your identity account for things like Universal Credit, requesting a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) and Self Assessment.
Whichever method you choose to create a GOV.UK account, once it’s set up and verified, you can check your State Pension forecast.
Find out your State Pension forecast on the GOV.UK website here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.