Retirement - What employees need to know

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Health Assured team

26 July 2018


With one third of our lives being spent at work, there is no surprise why many look forward to the golden days of retirement.

Transitioning from work-life to retirement can impact an individual both financially and emotionally. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are properly prepared before you decide to take the step to retire.

Understanding your income

Once you have retired, you will likely have two main sources of income: your State Pension and your Private Pension, both are outlined below.

State Pension

A State Pension is a regular payment that you receive from the government upon reaching a certain age. Receipt of this pension is not automatic, normally you need to apply to the government for the payments to begin. In order to receive the State Pension payments, you must satisfy eligibility criteria. You can check your eligibility

United Kingdom State Pension

In order to qualify for State Pension, you must have at least 10 years’ worth of national insurance contributions and must be of a certain age.

The State Pension age has been undergoing constant review and changes since April 2010. The State Pension age is going to be kept under review with the Government planning further increases in the future. This is due to a number of different factors; such as changes in life expectancy.

To find out your projected State Pension age, please see the government calculator.

If you live in England, Wales or Scotland and wish to claim your State Pension, you will need to contact the Pensions Service. You can contact them via telephone on 0800 731 7898. Alternatively, you can claim online

If you reside in Northern Ireland, you will need to contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre in order to claim your State Pension. You can contact them via telephone on 0808 100 2658 or via email on [email protected]. Alternatively, you can claim your State Pension online through the NI Direct website

Republic of Ireland Pension

In the Republic of Ireland, there are two different types of State Pension: Contributory and Non-Contributory.

The Contributory State Pension is paid upon the age of 66. To be eligible you must have at least 10 years of social insurance contributions which you began to pay prior to the age of 56. You must have paid the average number of social insurance contributions within each of the 10 years. The eligibility rules for the Contributory State Pension are complex and it is suggested that you seek advice regarding eligibility from an expert body. You can gain such advice from your local Citizens Information, click here to find your local office.

The Non-Contributory State Pension is a payment for those over the age of 66 (which is set to change to 67 in 2021), who do not qualify for the Contributory State Pension. Eligibility for the Non-Contributory State Pension is means tested, meaning that your income must be below a certain amount before you can receive it. See here for further details on the means test

In order to receive the Contributory or Non-Contributory State Pension, you must apply to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Please see their website for further information,

Private Pensions

The eligibility rules and payment amounts for private pensions vary for each individual pension scheme. Therefore, if you have any specific questions regarding your private pension it is best to contact the pension scheme provider directly.

Alternatively, you can seek free expert advice from the Pensions Advisory Service on 0800 011 3797 if you are in the United Kingdom or the Pensions Authority on (01)-6131900 if you are in the Republic of Ireland.

Financial preparation

After retiring, you will likely notice a reduction in your income. Therefore, it is important that you take steps to maximise and protect your finances prior to retiring.

Lost pensions

On average, individuals are expected to change jobs around six times over the course of a life time. Many companies have private pension schemes and over the years it may be difficult to keep track of the details of these schemes.

United Kingdom

If you are in the UK and believe that you have a private pension which you may be entitled to, you can search the Pension Tracing Service database to find a lost pension. See this website for more information.

Alternatively, you can contact the Pension Advisory Service on 0800 011 3797 for expert advice on a lost pension.

Republic of Ireland

If you are in the Republic of Ireland and have a private pension which you may be entitled to, contact The Pensions Authority to search their register of company pension schemes.

Dealing with debt

After retiring, you will notice a change in your income, thus it is often suggested that any debts are settled to make the transition easier.

For free, expert debt advice contact:


0800 138 111

(United Kingdom)


(Republic of Ireland)

Money Advice and Budgeting Service


(Republic of Ireland)

Boosting with benefits

Most of those who have retired assume that they are no longer entitled to any benefits or support from the government. This is certainly not the case, with research demonstrating that more than £3.5bn worth of benefits are left unclaimed by retired individual’s each year. After retiring, you will notice a reduction in income, benefits may be a way of minimising the impact of this.

To find out whether you are entitled to any benefits, contact:


0808 802 2000

(England, Wales and Scotland)

Advice NI

0808 808 7575

(Northern Ireland)

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

071 919 3302

(Republic of Ireland)

When can I retire?

United Kingdom

Within the UK, there is no default retirement age and employers cannot force employees to retire, unless they have a reason by law to do so. This means that if you want to, you can continue working past the age you become eligible for your State Pension.

Republic of Ireland

Within the Republic of Ireland, there is no fixed retirement age under the law, instead your contract of employment will fix a specific date for you to retire. Once you reach the age outlined in your contract of employment, your employers will expect you to retire.

If you have any concerns regarding anything mentioned in this article, and want to find out more information, please call our helpline on: 0844 892 2493.

Or alternatively, visit our portal to view advice articles, webinars and 4-week programmes all aimed at improving your wellbeing.

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