Q I am a woman who will be 53 in July and have just heard I can expect a State pension of £65.65. I have worked for about 27 years. My friend, who has only done about five years' work, is going to get the full pension of £79.60. How can this be?

A As women's pension ages will change from 2010, you will not get yours until you are 62 years and two months. This means you would need 41 years of National Insurance to get a full pension. As you have fewer than this, yours will be at a modified rate. Five years' work on its own will not get you a full pension, unless you also have many years of credits, perhaps from being on long-term sick. Maybe your friend is divorced and will be claiming on her ex-husband's National Insurance.

Q My works pension is £442.45 a month and our joint State Pensions come to £139.95 a week. Are we due any reduction on our £1,030 a year council tax?

A Yes. £7.71 a week.

Q My husband receives £58.80 a week Attendance Allowance because he had a major stroke. The Department for Work and Pensions at first told me I could have a Carer's Allowance of £44.35, but then said I could not because I had a State Pension of £51.64. Can this be right?

A You cannot have Carer's Allowance on top of a State Pension. You can only have whichever is the greater. What you have is an underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance and this means you will be more generously treated if you claim Pension Credit and Housing/Council Tax Benefit.

Q I have just had my first payment of State Pension and have noted that it started four days after my 60th birthday. Yet my Incapacity Benefit finished the day before my birthday. Why the gap?

A State Pensions are due on a particular day of the week. New pensioners only get paid from their birthday it if happens to fall on their pay day. Otherwise, they must wait until the first pay day after that birthday.