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How to claim the UK State Pension abroad

Many UK citizens dream of moving abroad after they retire to live out their golden years. Some may want to settle in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while others prefer closer to home in Spain near the coastal resorts of Costa Blanca. Whatever your choice, you will surely want to know how to claim your UK State Pension when abroad.

To help you understand what to do, this article by Pacific Prime UK looks at what the UK State Pension is and what the qualifying years are, as well as provide you with an overview of how to claim your UK State Pension abroad.

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What is the UK State Pension?

The State Pension is a regular payment from the government to most UK citizens, and those that are eligible can claim when they reach the legal State Pension age. Your State Pension age depends on when you were born. To help you calculate your State Pension age, you can use this calculator on the GOV.UK website.

UK State Pension: basic and new

There are currently two State Pension schemes and the one you fall into depends on when you were born. The first is the basic scheme, and the other is the new State Pension, which was introduced on 6 April 2016.

Basic State Pension in the UK

You can claim the basic State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born before 6 April 1951
  • a woman born before 6 April 1953

With the basic State Pension, you can currently get a maximum of GBP £134.25 per week. This amount increases every year by whichever is the highest of the following:

  • Earnings – the average percentage growth in wages (in Great Britain) each year
  • Prices – the percentage growth in prices in the UK as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
  • 2.5%

New State Pension in the UK

The new State Pension scheme is somewhat different from the basic State Pension scheme. To be able to claim the new State Pension, you will need to be:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

On top of your date of birth, you’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years (up to 35 years) on your NI record to get any State Pension under the new scheme. To help clarify, this means for 10 years at least one or more of the following must apply to you:

(Take note: To get the full amount of GBP £175.20 per week under the new State Pension scheme, you’ll need 35 qualifying years.) 

Overall, your new State Pension is based on your National Insurance record when you reach State Pension age. You can get an estimate by checking your State Pension statement on GOV.UK.

How to claim your State Pension abroad

Once you have reached State Pension age and have paid enough UK National Insurance contributions to quality, then you can make a claim. To begin you must contact the International Pension Centre (IPC). You are advised to contact the IPC within 4 months of your State Pension age to make a claim. This is to ensure your pension claim gets processed swiftly and smoothly.

You can contact the IPC, Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm:

Where can I receive my pension payment when abroad?

To receive your UK State Pension, you will need:

  • a bank account in the country you’re living in
  • a bank or building society in the UK

You can use:

  • an account in your name
  • a joint account
  • someone else’s account – if you have their permission and keep to the terms and conditions of the account agreed upon

(Take note: You’ll need the international bank account number (IBAN) and bank identification code (BIC) numbers if you have an overseas account. You’ll be paid in the local currency and the amount you get may change due to fluctuations in the exchange rates on the day of the transaction.)

Get further advice from the IPC regarding your State Pension

Contact the International Pension Centre if you want advice on how your pension might be affected if you’ve already retired or are thinking of moving abroad.

Do retirees need international health insurance abroad?

In the UK, citizens and residents enjoy free universal provision from the NHS, and private medicine and medical insurance are auxiliary rather than essential. However, outside of the UK, healthcare operates differently and many countries require UK retirees to have health insurance to cover medical costs that may arise due to illness or an accident. This is true for countries like the UAE and Thailand.

Fortunately, Pacific Prime UK specializes in international health insurance plans for retirees that provide medical benefits in virtually any country around the world, thereby providing high-quality medical care wherever you go.

Popular benefits and features include:

  • Global coverage
  • Inpatient and outpatient coverage
  • Direct billing
  • 24/7 customer support

Consider retiree health insurance for true peace of mind

Retirees may want to consider retiree health insurance to help provide peace of mind. When it comes to the age limit, different insurers will have different policies regarding the maximum age of the individuals they will insure. While some insurers will cut off new clients at the age of 65, 70 or older, there are still others that provide plans with no maximum age limit and lifetime renewability.

Have pre-existing health conditions? Talk to Pacific Prime UK about available plans that will cover your pre-existing conditions.

Reach out to Pacific Prime UK

Pacific Prime UK’s team of experts are on hand to help retirees make the right decisions when it comes to health insurance plans. As the go-to insurance broker for health plans, we have supported numerous individuals and families with their health insurance needs. For those that have yet to retire and plan on moving abroad, our guide to moving abroad as an expat will help you make the right steps.

Contacting us today for impartial advice and a free quote!

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