Can you draw two state pensions? One from UK AND one from FRANCE?

Just had the strangest conversation with UK DWP.

I understood that if your career spans UK and France, that the two systems would speak to one another and that they would decide where your pensions is paid (ie. France or UK) - you would not receive two pensions.

DWP have advised me that this is NOT the case. That the two systems talk to one another as far as health care is concerned but as far as pensions are concerned, I would get one pension from the UK (for the 18yrs contributions that I have made there) and one from the French state (for the xx years that I pay into the system here).

The only thing is, since working in France, I have worked only 30hrs a week, so am probably not going to meet the minimum threshold of getting a pension in France.

Is anyone on here conversant with this issue? Would really welcome some advice.....

Many thanks


Yep, CIPAV is like ARCCO and the rest which are not connected to CARSAT but the bodies which make up the complimentary retirement pension after the national body CARSAT. You need to contact CARSAT regarding the basic French pension.Go into your nearest office and see them to make a RdV , it's easier than phoning. They don't care what happens with the others.

Well it is interesting that the spectre of CIPAV has been raised. Our experience of the organisation is not very good. My wife wrote to them several times because she could not get through on the phone. They did not reply to the letters. Finally managed to speak to someone after phoning a different number. Was promised that they would call back but did not. Phoned again and was told that an internal message was being sent to another department and that the original messages had been received. Promised that they would be in contact. That was January and we are still waiting.

My wife asked for help from our local CARSAT but was refused an interview because they did not recognise CIPAV. Am I right in thinking that CIPAV is actually a Private Pension Company and not really anything to do with the French State System?

Well they never called me back...surprise surprise! So i'ts back to the phone tomorrow pressing a million buttons in the hope that a human being is on the end of it.

thanks for that - what certain condition - he is Profession liberal - we run painting holidays at home.

Here is a description of the new law

Yes, you can continue to work, but under certain conditions.

Just today I learnt there is a new law that came into force in January. If you want your pension you to have to stop work!!! Has anyone any idea what this is about.? Sent all papers off twice last year for husband who turned 65 last September. Eventually got onto CIPAV today who said - oh yes we've received all your papers - I'll relance it!!!!! What if my husband had really needed his pension?

Well someone is doing a lot of talking 'cos I asked 'Newcastle' if they had anything for me (born in UK but never worked there) and they told me snootily that the French would deal with it. Lo and Behold the UK Pensions' service started sending me a princely £15 a week! That and the German €32 a month (only 3 years actual contributions paid there but, as Rebecca pointed out, they agreed that the other 35 years or so I had done in the EU were enough to warrant a gesture.) Incidentally, one can ask the Germans for reimbursement of all pension contributions you have made there if they don't give you a pension. 13-page form to fill out, mind.

The CARSAT keeps reminding me that they are awaiting the Irish response to their letters about my pension rights there ... so there is definitely a lot of communication going on between the various EU organs.

So, all in all, the system works, provided you take the first steps in the country where you are currently resident: so if you live in France then you are in the hands of the CARSAT. It gets a bit trickier if you have paid into different types of pension pots though: RSI, IRCANTEC, ARRCO etc ... as you have a bit of legwork to do.

HI Rebecca,

I'm in a similar situation and have only just been informed today by DWP in the UK that as I have had a micro enterprise in France since 2004 that I have to apply to CARSAT (tel 3960) stating my details and that they will be dealing with my claim for my uK pension, not Wolverhampton. After several attempts to get through I was then redirected to another organisation who took my details and told me that they would ring back. No call back yet but it is the sacred lunch 2 hours. My AE status is as a non-salaried enterprise renting out a gite so I don't as yet know whether I will qualify for anything here either.I have been paying regular payments to URSSAFF so maybe I'll be lucky? I have been given a forecast for my pension in the UK for 22yrs contributions and now my future hangs in the balance as to whether I'll get that too? I just wish someone had told me this at the beginning before I filled in all the forms etc etc....guess I'm not very good at reading the small print!

Anyway good luck with your claim..let me know how you get on and I will do the same'

Diana xx

What is 'HR' Theo ? What does it stand for ?

It doesn't matter if your wife is a Londoner, she will be dealt with by Newcastle (as far as i'm aware). Contact DWP Newcastle and ask them what you need to do giving them her NI number etc.

I can promise you CARSAT in Limoges sent my details to Newcastle for verification of my UK contributions etc for my years worked in the UK or for UK registered companies. I have a copies of the communications between the two including a full break down of my UK contributions. The CARSAT, or french pensions people then worked out when I would be entitled to take a french pension based on my UK contributions etc.

Conversely, I contacted Newcastle in february to ask for a UK pension forecast and they told me they had both my French & UK records on their files which would indicate to me that yes, the two countries DO in fact communicate with each other...

Although I left the UK in the '80s I carried on paying my Self-Employed NI Stamp which will eventually give me a full UK pension in a few years. I stopped paying it about five years ago when Newcastle wrote and told me I had sufficient contributions. The rules have since changed yet again.

Interesting - just found this:

Particularly of note:

Eligibility periods

In some EU countries, you must have worked for a minimum period of time to be entitled to a pension.

In such cases, the pension authority has to take into account all the periods you’ve worked in other EU countries, as if you’d been working in that country all along, to assess whether you’re entitled to a pension (principle of aggregation of periods).

If it fails to do so, contact our assistance services for help.

Sample story

Tom worked for 4 years in Germany and 32 years in Portugal.

In Germany, you must have worked for at least 5 years to be entitled to a pension. Tom would not normally qualify for the national pension scheme in Germany as he had worked there for only 4 years.

However, the German pension authority had to take into account the years Tom worked in Portugal. It recognised his entitlement and is paying him a pension for the 4 years worked in Germany.

  • This suggests that EU countries DO speak to one another???

I don't know Newcastle, my wife is Londoner, she really prepared already now a bit and it turned out, there is no communication between them. But she was dealing his something like HR retirement... still it was a lot less paper work then I've had with the guys in Berlin.

Sorry Theo but are you saying the CARSAT in France don't communicate with DWP at Newcastle ?

its not the case, they don't speak to each other. You have to do all yourself... You have to get your UK from this HR thing (don't know the name, have had to deal with UN and Germany and it was quite enlightening) You will need all your payslips (or contribution recipes)... Same here. Takes for me now one year and I have a few years to go. So start early enough. The other more grave concern is: what if Farange gets his will, UK is leaving... You may file for naturalisation at the same time if you intend to continue to life in France.

I get state pension from UK and miniscule one from France. I would like to know if you have to declare your UK state pension and if so how do the French tax people deal with it. I though it was taxed at scource.

Hi Rebecca, DWP is quite right. You will get a UK pension at the normal UK pension age which will be pro-rata to your contributions. You will also qualify for a french pension at the norrmal french pension age which will take into account your 'trimestres' or quarter years you will have accrued. ie so a full french pension is about 166 trimestres from memory (tho' the rules have changed recently) so if you have worked ten years in the french system you will have 40 trimestres in your account and this will determine your french pension amount.

Hello Peter, could I impose a little bit and ask you to try and recall this post from a few years ago. The last paragraph is of particular interest to me…
I left Uk in the late eighties and have been paying into the German state pension system ever since. I have 12 years UK contributions to my name and according to my HMRC online account I can top up my UK pension forecast by back paying contributions for some of the more recent years (2008 onwards I believe). This would mean if for example I back payed for the year 2010 I would then have paid contributions for that year in both Germany and UK.
You appear to have done something similiar in that you have paid into the UK and the French state systems at the same time. My question is will both those countries, in my case UK and Germany, pay a pension for those parallel years or is it one or the other only?
Sorry for being a bit long winded, I am just beginning to look at my retirement plans so it’s all new ground for me. I appreciate any insight you can give me in this.


Oops, I actually meant your post a little further up the thread…this one -

Hi Edwin,
I can’t answer your question as you need to find out if there reciprocal agreements with both countries but I can’t see a problem. I paid my self-employed stamp for the allotted time plus I paid into the French system for almost 25 years. I currently draw my French pension (at 61 years and 7 months) and a Merchant Navy pension (at 61 years). I need to wait until 2020 (jan 1st) to get my UK pension.
I think the EU pension rules will have to be on your side.
Good luck

Hi Peter, thank you for taking the time to reply on this old thread.
The Germans do take into account the number of years contributed in UK in their calculation as to when I am eligible to draw pension (35 years total contributions for early, slightly reduced pension, 45 for full).

The fact that you paid into both UK and French systems in parallel and those years count/will count towards the amount you receive/will receive from both countries is a good indicator. I am in the process of contacting the German ‘Rentenversicherung’ and Newcastle to confirm these overlap years will be taken into account by both countries in my pension calculation. Newcastle is extremely difficult to get hold of!

Army pension is the other thing I have to look into!

Thank you