If you’re planning on spending some of your retirement years outside the UK then you need to know how this could affect your State Pension. At Currency Solutions, we help thousands of people transfer their State Pensions abroad, so we thought we’d put together a list of some of the most common questions from our customers.
If you live in an EEA (European Economic Area) country, then claiming your state pension is pretty easy. Firstly, you have to be within four months and four days of the age when you’re officially eligible to make the claim. Secondly, you need a bank account in your new home country for the pension to be paid into, or to have it transferred to from a UK bank account.
The UK also has arrangements for British nationals living in a number of countries outside the EEA, including Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Israel, Jamaica, Jersey and Guernsey, Mauritius, New Zealand, the Philippines, former Yugoslavian Republics, Turkey and the USA.
If you live in an EU country, there is no change to your ability to claim the UK state pension following Brexit.
While you can still claim your UK state pension abroad, your pension credits (a benefit which supplements your weekly income) will stop as soon as you move overseas permanently. Also, while your State Pension will likely rise each year that you’re in the UK, you might not be entitled to this increase if you move overseas – only if you live in the EEA, Gibraltar, Switzerland or a country that has a social security agreement with the UK.
You can find a full list of the countries where you’re entitled to an annual increase in your state pension at gov.uk.
If you decide to move abroad before you receive any of your pension income, you have a few options. You could stop paying into your pension and access the money at a later date, or you could continue to pay into your pension – although you might not be eligible for tax relief on your contributions, and the amount could be limited.
Outside of the EEA, if you live in one of the following countries you’ll usually be able to receive an increase in your state pension every year: Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Kosovo, Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, the Philippines, Serbia, Turkey and,USA.
The UK also has a social security agreement with Canada and New Zealand, although this doesn’t facilitate a yearly increase to your UK state pension. Again, it should be noted, there is no change to the arrangements for receiving your UK state pension within the EEA following Brexit.
If you live abroad and are classed as a non-UK resident, you usually don’t have to pay any tax on your state pension. But you might have to pay tax in the country you live in – and if you’re receiving another pension income you could also be taxed on that.
However, there are a few countries that have a double taxation agreement with the UK, which stops you from being taxed twice on the same income. Transferring your pension could change the amount you get when you retire, so make sure you transfer the money into a qualified, recognised overseas pensions scheme – one that meets the same standards as those in the UK. For more information about tax on your UK income, visit gov.uk.
Your State Pension can be paid directly into a bank account in the country where you live, or you can get it paid into a UK bank account and transfer it later. The latter option means you can shop around for a cheaper alternative to the banks when it’s time to make the transfer.
If you choose to receive your State Pension into a non-UK bank account, then it’ll arrive in the local currency. The amount you receive will be affected by the local exchange rate, so make sure you factor that in. This is where Currency Solutions can help
*The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (February 2020). It could change depending on what is agreed between the UK and the EU during the 2020 transition period.
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