The current scheme applies to men born before 6 April 1951 and women born before 6 April 1953 who reach the State Pension age before 6 April 2016.
The two tiers are made up of the basic State Pension and the additional State Pension.
Tier 1 – the basic State Pension
The basic State Pension is based on the number of years you’ve been paying your National Insurance (NI) contributions. If you’ve been paying them for at least 10 years, you’ll get a basic State Pension. However, to qualify for the full basic State Pension, you’ll generally need to have been paying NI for at least 30 qualifying years. If you haven’t got 30 qualifying years, you might be able to fill in any gaps with voluntary contributions. The maximum you will get is £119.30 a week.
Tier 2 – the Additional State Pension
On top of the basic State Pension, you might also get an Additional State Pension. The amount will depend on your earnings and your NI contributions. If you contracted out of the State Pension scheme at any point, you won’t qualify for the Additional State Pension for the period you contracted out. This is because the NI contributions that you would have paid into the Additional State Pension will have gone into your company scheme or personal pension instead.
More information is available at The Pensions Advisory Service and www.gov.uk.