3. Basic State Pension – Can I Increase It?
If your State pension came into payment before 6 April 2016 then your State pension breakdown should show that you have a Basic State Pension element. The maximum Basic State Pension is £141.85 per week for the 2022 tax year. It was £137.60 per week for the 2021 tax year, £134.25 per week for the 2020 tax year and £129.20 per week for the 2019 tax year.
If your Basic State Pension element is below the maximum then this could be increased following divorce by using your spouse’s National Insurance Contribution history. This is known as substitution and does not diminish your spouse’s Basic State Pension in any way.
Substitution applies equally to males and females who are not receiving the maximum Basic State Pension. However, it should not be assumed that the maximum Basic State Pension will be received following divorce since the substitution calculation is complicated and depends upon the length of marriage.
If you reached your State Pension Age after 5 April 2016 then substitution is no longer possible.
To make a Substitution Request to find out if your Basic State Pension might increase following divorce then it will be necessary to write to the Awards Department of The Pension Service. When writing, please be sure to include both parties’ full names, addresses, dates of birth and National Insurance Numbers.
We suggest wording as follows:
“I am about to be divorced. I need to know how my Basic State Pension entitlement will change when I divorce were I to substitute my spouse’s National Insurance Contribution history for my own.”
The contact address for the relevant Awards Department of the Department for Work and Pensions that will deal with the substitution request depends upon the postcode of the party who is making the application. You can get assistance in identifying the correct address to which to write online using the Find My Pension Centre link below.
Once the link has opened click “Start Now”, select the top option “Claim State Pension”, enter your postcode and click “Continue” to find out the contact address for the relevant Awards Department that will deal with the Substitution Request.