What Is The State Pension Triple Lock?

Managing Your Money / Pensions and Retirement

The amount of State Pension you get increases in April each year. The triple lock means the rise will either match the rate of inflation, average earnings or 2.5% – whichever is highest.

What is State Pension?

State Pension is a monthly payment, currently worth up to £221.20 a week for most. You can claim it when you turn ‘State Pension age’, which is generally:

  • age 66 
  • age 67 if born after April 1960, or 
  • age 68 if born after April 1977.

You can check your exact State Pension age at GOV.UK. How much you’ll get depends on your National Insurance record. To qualify for the full £221.20, you usually need at least 35 years of credits or contributions, and at least ten years to get anything.

For full information and how to claim, see State Pension: an overview

The State Pension triple lock explained

The State Pension increases in April each year, based on a system known as the triple lock. This just means the increase matches one of three percentages, with the government choosing the highest number:

  • how much general costs have risen by (inflation), based on September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) 
  • the average increase in wages between May and July, or
  • 2.5%.

For example, in 2023, the CPI rate was 6.7% and the average wage increase was 8.5%. This meant the State Pension increased 8.5% in April 2024 – from £203.85 to £221.20.

The triple lock applies to most State Pension payments, but there are two exceptions that increase in line with CPI instead:

  1. Additional State Pension – part of the old State Pension that you might get if you reached pension age before 6 April 2016.
  2. Any extra amount if you decided to delay taking your State Pension – known as deferring.

How the triple lock benefits pensioners

If costs rise but your income stays the same, you’re worse off. This is the impact of inflation and means the value of your money gets lower over time.

To stop this from happening to pensioners, the triple lock guarantees the State Pension will increase by at least 2.5% every year. It’s also meant State Pension has risen at a faster rate than if it had just tracked one thing, like inflation.

Does the triple lock affect me?

The triple lock affects anyone living in the UK who gets the State Pension, including under the old system before April 2016.

You might also get an annual increase if you live abroad, depending on where you live. You can check the full country list at GOV.UK. You don’t have to do anything to benefit from the triple lock. The increase is automatically calculated and applied for you on, or just after, 6 April.

Will the triple lock end?

There are currently no plans to end the triple lock, but there are frequent debates on how affordable it is to continue. For example, State Pension increased 10.1% in 2023 and 8.5% in 2024, costing billions.

Legally, the government is only required to increase State Pension in line with the average increase in wages. This means they could decide to scrap the triple lock in the future. But, as this would be a very political decision, it’s unlikely be an overnight change. Before the triple lock started in April 2011, the annual increase only tracked inflation, or average wage increases before 1980.

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