State pension age could hit 68 sooner than expected - what it means for you

The state pension age may have to rise faster than planned because of strain on public finances. We explain what it means for your retirement plan

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The state pension age could rise to 68 by the end of the 2030s - a move that isn’t supposed to happen until 2046.

It means people born in the 1970s and onwards will have to work for longer, with those in their early fifties worst affected. 

The state pension age is already due to rise from 66 to 67 by 2028.

The next increase to 68 was not due to happen until 2046, but there are reports a government review is set to conclude it should be brought forward due to an ageing population and lower birth rate leaving fewer young workers to pay the tax bill.

The Sun (opens in new tab) is reporting Chancellor Jeremy Hunt might even announce the change in the March Budget.

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell (opens in new tab), says “From the Treasury’s perspective, bringing forward the planned increase could be a huge money spinner, likely raising tens of billions in revenue - funds that are desperately needed in the wake of the pandemic and the costly energy support package.

“For savers, this is another reminder that while the state pension provides a valuable foundation upon which to build your retirement plans, both how much you receive and when you receive it remains at the whim of politicians.”

Steve Webb, partner at pension consultants LCP, said he would be surprised if the proposed change happens in 2035: “There are considerable barriers to a very aggressive timetable. The Government will not want to risk legislation before the General Election, not least because of the risk of wider state pension age issues such as the ‘WASPI’ campaign (opens in new tab) coming up again in the form of unwelcome amendments.  

"A reasonable compromise might be to bring forward the move to 68 by a couple of years, but not by enough to require swift legislation”, he adds.

We explain what the change means for your retirement plan. 

What increasing the state pension age to 68 could mean

Currently, the state pension age is legislated to rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046. This means:

  • Anyone born on or before 5 April 1977 will have a state pension age of 67
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1977 to 5 April 1978 will have a state pension age between 67 and 68
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1978 onwards will have a state pension age of 68

If the state pension age rises to 68 in 2037-39

If the increase to 68 is brought forward by seven years to 2037-39 – a proposal previously set out by the Government in 2017 – this could mean:

  • Anyone born on or before 5 April 1970 would have a state pension age of 67
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1970 – 5 April 1971 would have a state pension age between 67 and 68
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1971 onwards would have a state pension age of 68

If the state pension age rises to 68 in 2035-37

This could mean:

  • Anyone born on or before 5 April 1968 would have a state pension age of 67
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1968 to 5 April 1969 would have a state pension age between 67 and 68
  • Anyone born from 6 April 1969 onwards would have a state pension age of 68

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Katie Binns

Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities.  Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.