Pension payments overseas

Amanda and her husband are considering making the move back to the UK when they retire, but are unsure which pension they will be able to receive.

Q. Amanda

My husband is 55 years old and was born in Scotland, but has lived in Australia for 15 years and has dual citizenship.

I am Australian and lived and worked only part-time in the UK for four years when we first married, but I only ever had permanent residency and not citizenship. I don’t think I would be entitled to any British pension due to not living there long enough and contributing enough tax!

There is a possibility that in a few years time we may move back to Scotland to be with our only family members, and so we were wondering what the situation would be regarding receiving the Australian and/or British pensions – in either country.

It is undecided whether we would move back as retirees or before then, where my husband would take up work over there again.

A. Your husband would most certainly be entitled to a state pension as, assuming he worked during his time in the UK, he would have paid class 1 National Insurance (NI) contributions. To find out his national insurance history, he should contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Once he receives his history, he will be able to find out how much pension he will receive and whether or not it is worthwhile making additional contributions to boost the amount of pension he will receive.

In regards to your own situation, legislation will change in April 2016 whereby you will have to have your own qualifying NI contributions before you can claim a state pension. It may be worthwhile checking your own contributions before the legislation changes as you may be able to pay additional contributions.

In regards to your Australian Age Pension, if you leave Australia before you are eligible to claim an Age Pension, then you will not be able to do it from the UK. You must be resident in Australia to make a claim for the Age Pension. As the Australian Age Pension is means tested, any income, including UK pension, you receive will be assessed to determine how much pension payment you receive.

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