Claiming UK Benefits After you Move Abroad

I never trusted them, so I got a private pension. Even that went west. When several pension schemes collapsed down went my one. I will eventually receive compensation, assuming I live long enough, but that will actually be less than I paid in over around 40 years :-(

You can find it here Doreen- there are lots of variables. You will need all the usual certificates and I also recommend registering any death with the British Consulate. You will need to return any passport involved I believe.

They definitely did tell me I could keep paying when I left the UK - but on the highest level (which at the time was £10 per week) but that it would only top up my pension.

It will be interesting to note this time round how much they quote I should be paying - the £2.?? or the £13.?? - because they didn't give an option before. I've asked for a final figure anyway.

Not on exactly the same benefits but for those expats with partners or spouses who die in France make sure you contact the UK people ASAP because you can be eligible for benefits but they expire or reduce with delay. Despite registering my wife's death with the British Embassy at Paris I was completely unaware of this benefit until much later and as a result I lost most of it (well over £1000 lost I remember). There is no appeal. There is of course no information pack at the British Embassy. I reckon a few miss out on this.

Now why didn't that surprise me? The name may have changed umpteen times but they are still the same lot who persuaded me back in the early 1970s that because I was on a government department grant, working up to two-thirds of the year either in Germany or Peru that not paying contributions would have no effect whatsoever on my pension, That turned out to be utter BS as I found out when they demanded £8400 back payment pension contributions just a couple of years before I started to receive it. So, them squirming it out of what they said does not surprise me one little bit. They have a track record as I also know from several other contemporaries who had similar advice. Ironically, the Germans gave me the option of paying voluntarily because I was there roughly four months of each year. I had a kind of civil servant status, public service anyway being part of an academic institute, therefore paid far less than in the UK and am entitled to a far higher pension as an outcome for 18 years against 27 years!

Oooh, Pensions service already trying to squirm out of it this morning. Got a response telling me that if I was self employed and left the UK then I would no longer be considered to be self employed.


But what about my voluntary NI contributions? I sent them a couple of links so they could stop pointing out the obvious and start actually answering the question.

She also sent me a link - to the homepage of the NI section - to see if it would be worth my while paying the voluntary contributions. But you see she is from the Pensions sector - she cannot advise on Benefits and the ESA team have to be contacted again.

They are bodyswerving. If I hadn't already been in touch with the ESA team I would have simply read from that email that I couldn't top up with voluntary and all benefits would cease once I left the UK.

Just adding a link to the top up NI contributions that we were discussing the other day

Not that I'm any clearer on the subject apart from knowing the amounts. I think the £6 a week that Doreen quoted and the £10 a week that I quoted must now be the £13.90 per week equivilent. Then again living abroad and working means that you only pay £2.75 per week. Bit of a difference!

I've contacted them to ask how much it would cost to top up my contributions so I 'should' be able to let you know.

Thanks to you and Debra for explaining - I just kept seeing CAF and didn't know what it meant!

Exactly as Debra says. Rent is only for people with children or disabled/infirm elderly family members where there is financial hardship.

Are CAF payments towards rent? and if so, why would you get them from the UK?

We were without CAf payments for about a year then eventually received back payments from CAF and the UK. It made for a very happy Chistmas after a dreadful year as it came through the week before.

I think Livret A is only 0.75% now and that's obviously less than general inflation of general living expenses. If you pay any income tax in France that could be reduced by about 30 or even 40%. No incentive to save cash and even gold is going down now, along with most commodities.

Many UK bank accounts don't carry interest- especially the sort that expats are allowed to have. I do agree that it is necessary to declare the existence of any accounts outside France though.

They even pressed me on something like £4 something and £3 something on my daughters' respective trust accounts that barely receive any interest, which are only in my name until they are old enough to have 'grown up' bank accounts themselves. Less than eight quid and I was asked why I did not declare it means do not try withholding anything unless prepared to get a big fat bill and possible fine.

It may be that our older daughter with Down Syndrome attracted attention, at least it is highly likely given how many applications for assistance at school and special services were put in by the school but not by us. We still got notifications of outcomes of applications though.

We eventually got a letter from CAF after something like 18 months telling us we had not claimed and offering us (which we accepted of course) back payment of what was 'owing'. Friends have asked us (French friends that is) how and what actually happened there, never having heard of such letters and offers of back payments. I have a theory about it being somebody who had not had his/her pay rise and took revenge - something like that anyway ;-)

Aha, deferral scheme in the UK now. They nearly 'won' with me in Germany. I could have taken it at 60, assumed I was immortal and then had a heart attack and other problems six months before 65! The same risk goes with the UK now. If it was possible I reckon we all ought to have a statement of maximum estimated entitlement or something like 28 years at a fixed rate to take as a single payment which we could invest or spend down the pub as we choose. Whatever.

Yes Karen, I came under 35 years but it went up to 38 some time ago and because I had spent so much time in other countries I was eight years adrift to the best of my knowledge, didn't care enough to remember exactly. I only remember they wanted £8400 and a bit off me to make up the deficit! However, it is 38 years from what I gather and one needs that fully paid up to get full pension. My sister was four months inside the age rise line and has also not paid up anything like enough years to get near the 38.

Doreen, no. It doesn't work like that. I paid less into N.I./pension equivalent voluntarily in Germany when I was going back and forth between the UK and there. Contributions were then less than the UK but my pension, which I smugly deferred receiving until I am 70 and then got very ill, is considerably more for 18 years than the basic rate I get for about 27 years from the UK. Lots of rumours and stories abound, but the schemes are all so difference one from the other that trying to figure them out would strain the brain somewhat.

I'm nearly certain, but don't quote me, that's it's still 38 years.

I know I didn't have to pay in for that length of time (I think at the time I would have had to make up about 8 years worth of contributions) but one minute they had upped the retirement age of women to 62. The next thing I hear it is 65. I go online to check on mine and it's 67!!!!

I started to think I'd be the only person left in the country (or out of it) working. When I found out that it would only be utilised towards a pension and nothing else (hahaha) if I left the country, I just thought the money would be better contributed towards the system in France (taking into consideration exchange rate fluctations as well) But I have to be honest I don't know what French pensioners get anyway.

I think it was something like £40 per month to top up mine and that was about 4 years ago. Thing is, around the same time I was notified that my retirement age would be 67. It was like getting a double whammy.