Are you entitled to a UK pension?

Many British expats are unaware that they may be entitled to a UK pension.

Are you entitled to a UK pension?

Many British expats are unaware that they may be entitled to a UK pension, or that making extra contributions now, could deliver benefits when they reach pension age.

Established in 2003 British Pensions in Australia (BPiA) is an 11,450+ member, not for profit volunteer association of British expats, who are challenging the UK government’s unfair and discriminatory ‘frozen pensions’ policy. It is also willing to help members who have worked in the UK to investigate, enhance and even discover their possible UK pension entitlement.

Besides working with the International Consortium of British Pensions (ICBP) in its main campaign to have the UK Government reverse its discriminatory policy of freezing UK state pensions in many countries, BPiA works to inform the many British migrants who are unaware of the UK state pensions to which they are entitled, having paid their National Insurance ‘stamps’ when working in the UK. Based on current legislation this pension entitlement could even apply to Australians who have worked in the UK for as little as one complete tax year.  Furthermore the spouse, irrespective of nationality, may also be entitled to be paid a UK pension. 

Existing UK state pensioners

By becoming a member of BPiA you can get help to understand the intricacies of UK state pension legislation which may assist in your claim for much needed additional income from overseas by:

  • Uncovering your full UK pension entitlement. Depending upon when you reach UK state pension age you could be entitled to make additional contributions to boost your UK State Pension. A great return on your investment especially if you are married and your wife has reached UK state pension age.
  • Learning how to have your UK pension payment increased when holidaying in certain countries.
  • Assess your UK tax liability, claim overpaid UK taxes and arrange, if required, for all your taxes to be paid in Australia, including claiming a UPP allowance against tax in Australia.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Oct 2013
    I am given to understand that all ex-pat pensions will be reviewed and possibly cancelled in 2016?
    8th Oct 2013
    That appears to be incorrect.

    Linda McKay of This is Money replies: I hope at least you are enjoying the Australian summer, you may have heard that here in UK it is raining...again.

    With regards your query at present those who have paid national insurance contributions in UK then emigrated to countries such as Australia and Canada will not receive annual increases to their basic state pension.

    For example a 65-year-old Briton who retired in 2011 and moved to Australia received a maximum £97.50 basic state pension. When that person hits 82 in 2028, their state pension will still be £97.50.

    In the March 2012 Budget the Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that from 2016 UK pensioners will receive a flat-rate state pension, initially worth £140 a week for those with a 30-year national insurance record.

    So the gulf widens even further as inflation in the country of your choice eats into pension purchase power.

    Staff who work beyond 65 'should still pay National Insurance to help young
    Middle classes hit by £400 stealth rise in National Insurance payments
    State pension for people living abroad: where your payments will go up and where they will be frozen
    How to plan for a richer retirement: A guide for your 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s

    For those expats who chose to live in the US or within the European Community it is a different story. Their incomes rise by about 2.5 per cent each year just as if they had stayed in UK.

    Some countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not have reciprocal agreements with the UK leaving expats in these countries with frozen pensions.

    The Government is under pressure to change its policy of 'freezing' state pension payment to Britons who retire to these destinations. Of the 1.18million people who receive the state pension who live outside the UK an estimated 565,000 do not have their incomes increased.

    The Government has so far resisted change on the grounds of cost. It estimates that the annual bill for upgrading existing frozen pensions would be £655million and that this is considered ‘unaffordable’ in the current austere climate of cutbacks.

    It has been suggested that some of this cost of upgrading the frozen pensions could be offset.

    A report by Oxford Economics showed that expat pensioners saved the UK about £2.3billion a year by not using the NHS or being a drain on social care.

    It also suggested that if there were ‘pension parity’ there would be an increase in the numbers possibly emigrating to the current frozen countries resulting in a further possible saving to British economy of £7.2billion by 2031.

    The International Consortium of British Pensioners adds: We surveyed our members and are in the process of collating up to 3,000 responses and expect to uncover more cases like your reader which highlight the injustice currently experienced by these pensioners.

    We aim to step up our campaign and will continue to lobby the Government on this issue of pensioners in poverty.

    Anyone retiring or approaching retirement should consider the impact the move could have on their future state pension entitlement.

    The UK pension is payable worldwide but is only increased annually where there is a legal requirement or reciprocal agreement.

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    8th Oct 2013
    Poppysmum, Not sure where you got this information from as this is not a part of the New UK Pensions Bill 2013 which is currently in Parliament and probably due to come in after 6th April 2016. Please g call on 08 6364 0859 to discuss this further

    8th Oct 2013
    Where did you hear that.......explain please?
    9th Oct 2013
    Hi Davey, Which/whose comment are you referring to please?
    14th Jan 2014
    My parents are coming to Australia to retire. they at 75 and 71 and currently receive the state pension.

    I understand that this pension will be "frozen" when they get here? What actually triggers that "freezing"? Is it automatic or when they change their bank account details with the Pension guys?

    What if they never change their bank account details and continue to receive the UK Pension into their UK bank account? Will their pension increase each year then?

    15th Jan 2014
    They are entitled to keep their UK bank account and either leave the money in the UK and transfer to Australia if they wish. However the critical information that will trigger the Department of Work and Pensions will be when they notify them of their change of address which they are legally required to do. If they decide not to do this they could well be 'caught out' and be made to repay the money, we know a few who have been caught and some who have not. However the UK Government have introduced a scheme to check whether pensioners are still alive and send letters out or a random but possibly soon to be on a biannual basis. If they don't receive a reply, because they haven't received a change of address, the pension gets stopped. If you want to talk about it you can call me on 08 6364 0859 or BPiA on 1300308 353. If they chose to notify a change of address and need their money in Australia the DWP can arrange for the payment to be made to and AU bank account in AUD. The exchange rates are 'bot a rip off''

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