Kenan Emin

Receiving your State Pension abroad

If you’re planning to spend some of your retirement years outside the UK, then you need to know how this will 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.

How do I claim my UK State Pension when living abroad?

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.

Will my State Pension increase when I’m abroad?

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.

What happens if I move abroad before I take my pension income?

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.

Which countries does the UK have a social security agreement with?

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, 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.

Do I have to pay tax on my State Pension if I live abroad?

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 be taxed on that, too.

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. How is my State Pension paid when I live abroad? 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. We make sure you're not impacted by non-favourable local exchange rates.

The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (October 2019). It could change depending on the outcome of Brexit.

Final thoughts

Every year, we help thousands of people transfer their money from a UK bank account to an overseas account. We offer highly competitive rates, as well as first-class customer service. You might find these three services useful:

  1. Regular payments Make multiple international payments quickly and easily with our online trading platform.
  2. Track an exchange rate Speak with one of our dealers who can monitor the rate and tell you about any changes.
  3. Forward contracts A forward contract (fixed or flexible) gives you stability by locking in an exchange rate for future payments, potentially saving you money.
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