The state pension age could increase to 71 in the near future, some careers experts have claimed.

Middle-aged workers could see the state pension age increase by a few years due to the impact of growing life expectancy and falling birthrates.

Anyone born after April 1970 may have to work until they are 71 before claiming their pension.

Speaking to The Guardian Les Mayhew, associate head of global research at the International Longevity Centre and author of the report State Pension Age and Demographic Change, said: “In the UK, state pension age would need to be 70 or 71 compared with 66 now, to maintain the status quo of the number of workers per state pensioner.

“But if you bring preventable ill health into the equation, that would have to increase even more."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Cribb, associate director and head of retirement at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said that while he did not disagree with a higher pension age, increasing it without addressing other cost-saving measures was not “realistic or equitable”.

He added: “It would disproportionately impact poorer individuals whose ill-health means they have shorter lives, and so who receive pensions for less time.”

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, pensioner benefits will cost the UK government £136bn in 2023-24, of which £124bn will be spent on state pensions.

East Lothian Courier: Pension age could go up due to the impact of growing life expectancy and falling birthratesPension age could go up due to the impact of growing life expectancy and falling birthrates (Image: PA)

Workers unimpressed with potential state pension age of 71

In reaction to the story on X, formerly known as Twitter, many workers were not pleased with the idea of the state pension age seeing a dramatic increase.

One person posted: "How long before state pension age is higher than average life expectancy ?"

Another wrote: "It’s pretty clear that they want us to be working until the day that we die so that we never actually get to retire and claim said pension…"

Meanwhile, another joked: "Millennials will never retire. Anyone below the age of 40 and reading this will be working until they expire. Your last day on this planet will be a work day. You will die surrounded by coworkers. The final voice you will hear is your boss."

Recommended reading:

  • When can I claim my State Pension? How to apply for it
  • 4 pension changes you should know about for 2024
  • Martin Lewis state pension warning to anyone aged 45 to 70

What is the current UK state pension age?

The current UK state pension age is 66 but that is set to rise to 67 between May 2026 and March 2028. 

It is expected to rise even higher by 2044, as it is reported that it will increase to 68 then.