State pension age: You may be able to claim or defer it while working | Personal Finance

In previous years, employers used to have the option to force their workers to retire at 65. Known as the “Default Retirement Age”, the law used to allow forced retirement until it was scrapped in 2011 following campaigning. There are some exceptions where an employer can force a worker to retire at a certain age – known as a “compulsory retirement age” but this can only be done with a qualifying reason.

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Pensions in general can still be claimed while working, so long as certain age requirements are met.

This includes state pension. State pension will usually need to be claimed in the first place, it tends not to be paid automatically.

So long as the claimant is at state pension age, there is nothing stopping them claiming state pension while also working.

If a person feels or desires to carry on working past retirement age, than deferring their state pension could be an option.

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Retirement or work

Many will need to face the choice of retirement or continued work (Image: GETTY)

Affordability

Many will find that retirement isn’t an option due to affordability (Image: GETTY)

Around two months before state pension age, individuals should receive a letter explaining the details and next steps.At this point the state pension can be either claimed or deferred (delayed). Nothing needs to be done in order to defer, the pension will automatically be deferred until it is claimed.

Once deferred, a persons state pension payments could increase by the time they decide to claim it. The state pension will increase for every week that is deferred, so long as deferment lasts for at least nine weeks. State pension will increase by the equivalent of one percent for every nine weeks of deferment.

This equates to just under 5.8 percent for every 52 weeks and the extra amount is paid with the regular state pension payments. It should be noted that these extra payments will be taxed.

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Taxes such as income tax will still need to be paid if you work past retirement age. However, National Insurance will no longer be paid for anyone after they reach state pension age, regardless it they receive the actual pension.

Many may find that as they approach retirement age that they don’t want to retire fully but perhaps would like to slow down. Thankfully, many modern office set ups can support flexible working.

Flexible working involves working out arrangements that can suit an employee’s needs. Examples being flexible start and finish times, part time accommodations and working from home.

Employer meeting

Flexible working and pension arrangements should be thoroughly discussed with employers (Image: GETTY)

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To request flexible working arrangements the employee must have been working for the same employer for at least 26 continuous weeks. On top of this, a specific four part process will need to be followed:

To begin with the employee will need to put their request in writing. The employer will then evaluate the request and make a decision within three months (or longer if agreed with the employee.)

If the employer agrees to the request, the terms and conditions within the employees contract must be changed. If the employer disagrees, they are required to write to the employee and give the business reasons for the decision.

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The request must be done with utmost care and consideration as employees can only make one application for flexible working a year. If the request is rejected due to poor communication or lacklustre effort than the employee will need to wait until the following year to try again. A whole year will likely be precious to those nearing retirement ages.

It’s important to note that while employers must deal with these requests in a “reasonable manner”, there is no legal obligation to offer flexible working. However, if the employee feels that their request has been handled poorly or unreasonably they may be able to take the employer to an employment tribunal.