Published On: Sat, May 14th, 2022

State pension: Expats get ‘vote for life’ but no sum rise due to where they live | Personal Finance | Finance

Increases to the state pension are not a foregone conclusion, and are only available to those resident in certain countries. These are: The UK, European Economic Area (EEA), Gibraltar, Switzerland, countries with a social security agreement with the UK (but not New Zealand or Canada).

If a person chooses to move overseas to a country not on the list, they risk being cut off from state pension increases in future. 

In this sense, the End Frozen Pensions Campaign has highlighted what it describes as an “illogical” policy as it relates to the matter.

It explained that while British citizens overseas have been given a “vote for life” in UK general elections, many still cannot get their pension uprated.

It is estimated some 520,000 British pensioners around the world are impacted by the historic policy.

READ MORE: State pension warning issued to Britons retiring this year

Many do so to be closer to relatives or friends in their advancing age, or to see a new part of the world.

However, living in certain countries does mean these individuals may have to sacrifice an annual uprating to their state pension.

End Frozen Pensions has said all pensioners “no matter where they live, deserve to be paid equally”.

Regardless of this, the Government has said it has no plans to change the policy which has caused controversy for decades.

Implemented by Governments of all political persuasions, the policy has been debated numerous times in Parliament – but never reversed.

Responding to an official Parliament petition this week, the Government added: “Ultimately, there is a choice for the individuals to make on where to live, and what the consequences are should that choice be somewhere other than the UK.

“The rules on uprating the state pension are clear and well publicised. So the choice to migrate or not remains a choice for the individual.”

However, some are still resistant to the idea of the frozen pension, especially if they have made full National Insurance contributions. 

Twitter user @stevexsmith said: “The British Government cares more about the war in Ukraine than protecting its own citizens.

“Our politicians care about profit only, people and pensioners are last on their list.”

While @Ninepenneth remarked: “Britain has frozen its pension in 150 countries for over 70 years creating huge animosity and resentment against itself from the countries it now needs to trade with.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has told it understands people move abroad for many reasons, and the fact this can impact their finances.

A spokesperson added: “There is information on GOV.UK about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK state pension. 

“The Government’s policy on the up-rating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”

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