With effect from 1 January 2011, the minimum pension level replaced the concept of basic pension for old age pensioners. This also applies to those who drew retirement pension before 2011. (For those born between 1954-1962, the minimum pension level will gradually be replaced with the term guarantee pension).
Who can receive the minimum pension level?
You must draw 100 percent retirement pension and have at least five years of National Insurance coverage to be entitled to the minimum pension level. You will receive the full minimum pension level if you have 40 years or more as a member in the National Insurance scheme. If you have a shorter period of National Insurance coverage, the minimum pension level will be reduced accordingly. The criterion for drawing retirement pension before the age of 67 is that you must have accumulated pension rights that are at least equivalent to the minimum pension level. Therefore, in practice, you will normally not qualify for the minimum pension level until you turn 67.
How is the minimum pension level calculated?
The amount paid at the minimum pension level depends on your marital status. If you are married or have a co-habiting partner, the minimum pension level also depends on your spouse / co-habiting partner’s income and pension.
You are entitled to the minimum pension level at the low rate if you are living with your spouse who is receiving, retirement pension, or contractual pension from the public sector. If both you and your spouse are receiving full retirement pension, you are covered by a guarantee, specifying that your collective pensions will at least be equivalent to twice the minimum pension level at the ordinary rate.
You are entitled to the minimum pension level at the ordinary rate if you are living with your spouse who is receiving disability benefit.
If you are living with your spouse who is not receiving any of the aforementioned benefits, but who has an annual income, including capital income, which is greater than twice the basic amount, you are entitled to a pension at the ordinary rate.
You are also entitled to a minimum pension at the ordinary rate if in twelve of the last 18 months you have co-habited with a person who
- is receiving retirement pension, contractual pension or disability benefit
- is receiving benefits as a surviving spouse or former family carer
- or has an annual income, including capital income, which is greater than twice the basic amount.
If you support a spouse over the age of 60 and qualify for a spouse’s supplement, you are entitled to the minimum pension level according to a special rate.
If you have a co-habiting partner with joint children or a cohabiting partner to whom you have previously been married, the rules that apply to spouses also apply to you.
You are entitled to the minimum pension level at the high rate if you are married / co-habiting and the above provisions do not apply to you (i.e. if your spouse / co-habiting partner an income less than twice the basic amount and is not covered by any of the pension schemes mentioned above).
The rates for the minimum pension level are fixed in accordance with the annual of retirement pensions.
Refugees lost the right to a full minimum pension from January 2021.
Refugees are no longer entitled to the minimum pension level without regard to their period of national insurance coverage. However, persons who were already granted a pension under this special regime before January 1th 2021, will keep their pension level unchanged.
Transitional rules apply for persons born in 1959 or earlier:
- Refugees born in 1959 or earlier and who had more than 20 years of national insurance coverage before 1 January 2021, are entitled to have their old-age pension calculated without regard to their period of national insurance coverage
- If you have been granted disability benefits or survivors' pensions based on the special rights that applied for refugees before January 1th 2021 and have 20 years of national insurance coverage at the age of 67, you will still retain this right upon transition to old-age pension.
If your income, or family and / or work situation changes, or you are planning a stay abroad, this may significantly affect the amount of benefits paid by NAV. That is why you must report any changes to NAV immediately.
Read more about Payment dates, holiday pay and tax withholding.