What is a pension?
A pension is a weekly benefit that is paid to you once you reach a certain age. A pension is meant to help cover your basic needs in retirement. The amount of pension you receive will depend on the amount of Social Security contributions you have paid during your working life.
When can I take my pension?
Your pension is normally paid when you reach 65 years of age. This is the same for both men and women. You can claim a reduced pension at any point between the ages of 63 and 65. However, the reduced rate is payable for life, so it is very important to take this into account in planning for your future.
Women who joined the Social Security scheme before 1 January 1975 can claim a pension when they reach the age of 60.
Taking your pension early at 63
What are the contribution conditions for pension?
There are requirements you must meet to get a pension based on your own contribution record:
- you must have paid contributions for at least 26 weeks
- to get a pension at the full rate (100%) you will need to have paid or been credited with a total of 45 years' contributions
For example, if your contribution record is 80% full, you will be paid 80% of the standard rate of pension.
You must have a minimum contribution of 10% which amounts to roughly 4.5 years worth of contributions.
What happens if I have less than a 10% entitlement to a Jersey pension?
You will not normally get a Jersey pension if this is the case. However, Jersey has Social Security agreements with a number of countries. If you made Social Security payments in any of these countries the contributions may be counted towards the contribution conditions for a Jersey pension.
Make sure that you fill in the section on the claim form that asks about countries to which you have paid contributions.
Jersey currently has agreements with:
||Isle of Man
How much is the pension?
Currently the full-rate pension is £197.40 per week. The weekly increase for a wife is £130.34.
Does the pension rate go up every year?
Yes, the rate of pension is reviewed on 1 October every year and increased taking into account the Jersey Earnings Index and RPI Pensioner Index, for the 12 months ending on 30 June of the same year.
You don't have to do anything to receive the increase. The increase will be paid to you automatically and you will receive a letter to advise you of your new rate payable.
How do I claim?
If you are living in the Island and have paid contributions in the last six years, you should receive a letter and a claim form from us about three months before you reach pension age. If you have not received these two weeks before your 65th birthday, please tell us.
If you are a married woman and want to claim a pension based on your husband’s contribution record you must fill in a separate claim form. If you are near or over 65 when your husband claims his pension you should receive a separate claim form. Please tell us if you do not get one.
Do not delay in filling in the claim form and returning it to us. We cannot back-date pension more than six months before the date you claim.
Can I claim an increase for my wife?
Your pension can be increased if your wife is under 65 and:
- your date of marriage was before 1 April 2001
- she is living with you or
- she is not living with you but you fully or mainly support her financially
This increase cannot be paid if your wife is getting a pension or any other Social Security benefit in her own right.
If you want to claim an increase of pension for your wife, make sure you answer all the questions on the claim form and your wife has signed the relevant declaration.
Women and pensions
Can I claim my pension at 60?
If you are a woman who joined the Jersey Social Security scheme before 1 January 1975, you are entitled to claim a pension at the age of 60.
If you have not paid enough contributions to qualify for a pension at 60, you may continue to pay contributions so that you can qualify for a pension when you reach the age of 65.
If you're paid a pension from the age of 60, we will regard you as having reached pension age for all aspects of the Social Security scheme. This means that you cannot receive any benefit that is paid to people under pension age - eg Short Term Incapacity Allowance.
Can I use my husband’s contributions to claim a pension?
If you were married and registered for Social Security purposes before 1 April 2001 you can get a pension of your own using your husband’s contribution record, providing:
- you are aged 65 or over and
- your husband is aged 65 or over and has qualified for a pension
What if I am under 65?
If you are under 65 when your husband qualifies for his pension and you were married before 1 April 2001, he will get an increase to his pension for you as his dependant. Then when you reach 65 the increase that your husband was getting on your behalf will be given directly to you as a pension in your own right.
Can I use my ex-husband’s contributions?
If your marital status when you claim your pension is divorced, we can substitute your ex-husband’s contributions in place of your own for the period of that marriage providing the date of marriage was prior to 1 April 2001.
What if I am a widow?
If you are getting a widow’s benefit you will be entitled to a widow’s old age pension or an old age pension based on your own contribution record (whichever is the more beneficial) when you reach 65.
If your marriage took place after 1 April 2001 you will receive an old age pension based on your own contribution record. However, if you have a previous marriage from before 1 April 2001, we can substitute the contributions of that husband into your record for the period of that marriage.
If you are a widow and have any questions about your pension entitlement, you should come in to the department to see one of our advisors in the Pension Zone (no appointment is needed), or call us.
Will my pension affect my other benefits?
There are a number of benefits that can no longer be paid once you are receiving your pension. These include: Short and Long Term Incapacity Allowance and Invalidity Benefit.
If you are receiving Disablement Benefit this does not affect your entitlement to pension. Both benefits can be paid at the same time. However please note that we can only pay an increase for a dependant wife on either your Disablement Benefit or your pension.
How is my pension paid?
Your pension will be paid 4 weekly in advance directly into an account with any recognised bank or building society.
It will start on the first Thursday after your pension is payable.
What if I want to appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the department, please contact the Pension Zone.
Is my pension taxable?
Yes, your pension is taxable. It is not taxed at source so you must declare how much pension you receive on your tax return each year. Please contact the taxes office if you have any problems.
Changes in your circumstances
It is important that you tell us if you:
- change address
- change your bank or bank account
- are detained in prison
- get married
- leave the Island
- separate from your husband / wife
What happens if I leave Jersey to live in another country?
We can pay your pension to you anywhere in the world, so if you move away from Jersey tell us well in advance, so we can update our records and arrange to pay your pension without any delay.
What happens if I have to go into hospital?
Your pension will continue to be paid if you go into hospital. If you are finding it difficult to get money you can arrange for us to pay your pension to a person of your choice.
Can I still work when I get my pension?
Yes, your pension is paid when you reach a certain age. You do not have to retire to get it. This means you can work and still receive your pension.
If you do work after you reach pension age you do not have to pay contributions. You should come into the department and swap your blue Social Security card for a red one.
Exemptions from contributions
Can I get a pension forecast?
Our pension advisors can give you a prediction of how much pension you may be entitled to.
Generally pension forecasts can be given if:
- you're aged 58 or over
- you're a woman who is divorcing or is divorced
- you've left the Island or you will be leaving the Island
A pension forecast can be particularly useful if you're thinking of taking your pension early or retiring and opting out of the Social Security system at 60.
How do I get a pension forecast?
Application forms can be obtained from the main reception or the Pension Zone or you can call and request for a form be sent to you.