For most people, the State Pension is the foundation of their monthly income in retirement. For others, it’s their only pension income. However, at £185.15 a week, or a little over £9,600 a year for the full State Pension, it's unlikely to be enough to provide many people with the standard of living they’d like when they stop working. 

At Royal London, we believe that everyone deserves to have financial security and a good standard of living in retirement. That’s why we want to bring to life the challenges of living on the State Pension, as well as help you to find out more about what you might receive in retirement and when you might get it. 

Join us as we live on the State Pension for a week.

What is the challenge?

Our consumer finance specialist, Sarah Pennells, explains the idea behind the State Pension challenge and how you can get involved.

Hi, I’m Sarah Pennells and I’m taking part in our State Pension challenge. That means I’ll be trying to live on the State Pension as my only source of pension income, for a week.

Now, the reason I’m taking part in the State Pension challenge is that for most people, the State Pension is the foundation of their income in retirement. And for others, it’s their only source of pension income. But the full State Pension is £185.15 a week or a little over £9,600 a year. And that may well not be enough to give you the kind of lifestyle you’d like when you retire.

Now it can be hard to think about life in retirement – what you’d like to do and what it will cost, but if you know what the State Pension could pay for, it could make those next steps of thinking about your life when you stop work, a little bit easier.

It’s important to say that this is not a scientific experiment, but I do hope to bring to life the realities of living on the State Pension.

I’ll be joined in the State Pension challenge by some of our customers and we’ll be posting regular videos about life on the State Pension and some of the decisions that we make about how we spend our money.

Now you can follow the State Pension challenge on our social media channels and we also have information on our website, Now, there you’ll find some of the videos along with guides to the State Pension and tools to help you work out what you might get from your own retirement savings.

How the State Pension works

For most people, the state pension provides the foundation for their retirement income. So, it’s worth understanding how it works and when you might get it.

In this short video, I’ll explain the basics.

The state pension is a regular payment you can claim from the government as soon as you reach state pension age.

The amount you get will depend on what’s called your National Insurance record. This is a record of how much National Insurance you’ve paid when you’ve been working, or been credited with, perhaps because you’ve been unable to work.

To get the full state pension, you’ll need 35 years of National Insurance.

The amount of state pension you get in the UK increases every year in line with rises in the cost of living or other measures.

So, this is what the full state pension pays in the current tax year, as a weekly amount and an annual amount.


Tax year 2022 – 23

£185.15 weekly

£9,627.80 annually

If you’re part of a couple, you’ll each get the full amount, as long as you each have a full National Insurance record of 35 years. And you need at least ten years of National Insurance to get any state pension at all.

As well as how much you might get, it’s important to consider when you can claim the state pension. The age you can get it depends on when you’re born. The current state pension age is 66, which means you can get the state pension when you’re 66 years old.

But the state pension age is due to rise in the future, which means, depending on your age, you may have to wait until you’re 67 - or older - before you’re entitled to claim your state pension.

Getting a State Pension forecast

A State Pension forecast will tell you how much you are on track to receive from your State Pension. Applying online is the quickest way to get a State Pension forecast. However, you can also get a forecast by contacting the Future Pension Centre.

Thousands of people check their forecast online every week and it may only take a few minutes. However, you do need to have some information to get your forecast online. So, we’ll explain what you’ll need.

To view your State Pension forecast online you’ll need a Government Gateway account. If you don’t have one, you can set one up. Here’s what you need to do to set up a Government Gateway account. The process is easier if you have a mobile phone as this can be used to send you access codes.

1. Create a Government Gateway account

Go to

Click on ‘Create an account’.

You’ll be given a 12-digit user ID which you can use to log in with a password you choose.

You’ll need an email address, and you’ll be sent a confirmation code to confirm your email address is valid.

2. Set up security

Each time you log in you’ll be sent a six-digit access code as an added layer of security. As part of the initial set-up you’ll need to choose how this code is sent to you and then verify that it’s working.

3. Verify your identity

The first time you log in you’ll be asked to provide information that can be checked against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) records.

First, you’ll need to enter your National Insurance number or postcode.

Then you can choose two items from UK Passport, your payslip or P60, tax credit or voice ID.

You may also be able to answer questions about your credit record.

4. View your State Pension forecast

You’ll be shown your State Pension forecast as weekly, monthly and yearly amounts.

You’ll be able to see how much you’re entitled to claim built on your National Insurance record so far, and how much you can claim when you reach State Pension age. This second figure normally assumes you continue to pay National Insurance (or receive credits for it) until you reach State Pension age.

You’ll also be shown the date you’ll be able to start claiming your State Pension.