Three quarters of all pensioners are paid four weeks in arrears, but a state pension can also be paid weekly. The Government hides this option when people apply, as the application form simply says: “State pension is usually paid every four weeks.”
So what does that mean in practice? Let’s say Jane was 66 on Thursday 22 July 2021. People are assigned a payday that depends on the last two digits of their National Insurance number – if they are between 00 and 19, then payday is a Monday, 20 to 39 is Tuesday, 40 to 59 is Wednesday, and so on. Jane’s National Insurance number ends in 12, so her payday is Monday. On her first – Monday 26 July – she is due four days’ pension, worked out as four sevenths of her weekly rate. But she will have to wait until Monday 23 August to get it, as that is when she is due four whole weeks’ pension. On that date she gets a payment covering four weeks and four days, and every fourth Monday after that she is paid four weeks’ pension.
But if she had chosen to be paid weekly, her first full payday would have been Monday 2 August, when she would have got one week plus four days’ pension, and then she would have been paid weekly every Monday after that – and got her pension up to three weeks earlier.
If you would like to get yours as early as possible, week by week, and not wait up to four weeks, then when you first claim write “Please pay my pension weekly” in the “other information” box.
And if you are one of the 8.4 million pensioners already being paid four-weekly, you can change to the weekly option by calling the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469. Ignore all the messages that try to persuade you to hang up, and eventually you will speak to a helpful person.
Alternatively, write to The Pension Service, Post Handling Site A, Wolverhampton WV98 1AF, giving your name, address and National Insurance number, and ask for your pension payment to be changed to a weekly basis.
Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4. QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com Paul cannot answer you personally, but will reflect them in his column.