Pension entitlement from UK

Could anyone advise me on who to ask about pension entitlements from UK. I worked in the UK for around 17 years and have been here since 1997 (profession independent since 2003). I'm not preparing to retire just yet (!) but just wondered what organisation I should be in touch with as it's been a long time and I am very out of touch with how things happen. Thank you all

You will need your National Insurance number,and then write to

The Pension Service

Tyneview Park

International Pension Centre

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE98 1BA England tel 0191 21 87777

A lot depends on when you worked where. Both I and my wife (French) have both UK and French state pensions but only because we both worked in France before the UK joined the EU. We both paid into the French system as was usual at that time or you wouldn't get health care benefits. But my company also very sensibly insisted that no matter where I was based I continue to pay into the UK system for both of us, albeit at a reduced rate, to ensure that we both had a UK pension entitlement.

A former colleague even has three state pensions -- UK, French and Belgian -- for the same reason.

As I understand EU rules now, if you've worked in more than one EU country the pension is paid by the country where you worked most and therefore made the most contributions. That country then claims back from the other(s) their share of your pension. This was the state of play when I qualified for a pension six years ago but I don't think the rules have changed.

Yes that's what I have received as well. The whole process is labrynthine. Their intention is I am sure to wear it down. Many politicians were opposed/are opposed to paying it to expats as they have a sort of sunblessed martini lifestyle image of us all, even when we are huddled around our stoves and the meteo records here show that London suburbs are far milder and drier than we enjoy annually! I have a spreadsheet of comparable climates just in case!

Goalposts move frequently. My children were excluded from child benefit and I wish I had simply not told them we had left the UK because it was paid into my bank and then I allocated it into their respective trust accounts. I de-registered as required by when we came, therewith accidentally cancelling my WFP. I reapplied last autumn and claimed a back payment very blatantly, only to get a letter telling me that since I had de-registered I could not do that although had I never been registered I could (the point of telling me the latter?). They definitely are a mental assault course and clear evidence of the fact that British bureaucracy and functionaries are much more like their French counterparts than people imagine. There are just less of them.

I took it all from GOV.UK plus looked for the government's white paper on pensions. Underneath the kind surface there is a mean Scot who does not want an even meaner government to pinch one penny from his already near empty pocket!

Not at all sure- Brian may be correct on dates. My retirement date was August 2010 and my basic was £97.65 plus various bits n bobs of additional state pension making an overall total of £147.88 which is only a smidgen away from the proposed new basic stae pension- par hazard!

I landed in France permanently in 2005 but I was younger than my wife and she was already getting WFP. She then died in 2007 and they didn't give it to me until last year when I got it for 2011 as a back payment and 2012 as a payment. I believe that they are reducing it now as well. My 65th retirement date was August 2010 so in theory I think I should have had it that year as well but the court case was after. I was pleased to have had two years. I did write and complain several times! I have told a few expat locals about it and some have been successful, but had to appeal. There has been ZILCH publicity about it of course. The other thing that miffed me was that I didn't realise until partially too late that after my wife's death I was eligible for UK death benefit. Again no publicity despite the fact that I registered her death with the British Embassy at Paris. All these things are like some sort of mental assault course which requires huge amounts of time and inquisitiveness plus of cours blogs like this one! I missed out on some child benefit too but eventually got some but now it has been withdrawn as they introduced a threshold. Meantime one now ends up paying some French social charges on UK pensions etc, including repayment of the French national debt! I don't know what France or our local commune would do with the expats- 20% plus of houses owned by Brits.

The Pension Service

International Pension Centre

Tyneview Park

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE98 1BA

Phone (0191) 21 87777 ( international code +44 191)

opening hours 8am - 8pm.

Good luck!

Keith P.

David, I recently went on the website and done my future pension, having done a full 40 years a fykk rate and the predicted pension was only 107 a week. How far in the future are we talking here as mine wasnt due to 2015?

Yes, that is in the dirty tricks bag along with the state pension age for both men and women rising from 65 in December 2018 to reach 66 by October 2020, whereby the white paper outlines the intention of 67, 68 and then 70 before the end of the 2020s. It is not there black on white but we might as well expect 40 years for our children. People like myself who did not make 18 of the 30 years get what they consider 'proportionate' (pr rata) although 30 years ago they made it clear that by the time I reached pension age there would already be a flat rate anyway, so why worry. In short, goal posts move all too often. Perhaps David is right in suggesting deferral, which is exactly what I have done with my German entitlement since 2008, in order to take it with rises as a back dated lump sum and the rate as of the year I take it each month. The UK system may well hold us back to the rate at the point of entitlement in which case deferral will be pointless and also the UK does not back pay with lump sums. I looked into that and got a helpful but very negative reply. If anybody is thinking of deferring then find out and get a response on paper first.

When I had my forecast, 2010 I think, I had an exchange of emails for a while. I was also told to contact the French authorities who told me that it was nothing to do with them because I have no French pension. I copied their letter (complete with a translation) to Newcastle who then did an about turn and claimed to have misunderstood me and that I would indeed need to claim in the UK directly. Mind you, they also gave me to understand that having sent me the forecast without me asking for it that it would be an 'automatic' process and that eventually they would only require details of how to pay me. I shall see later this year, reaching that golden (now rusting scrap iron really) age. They are very helpful but be prepared for contradictory information and possible confusion.

Hi you need the International Pension Dept at Newcastle....

suggest you get quote ASAP, use link already given you don't say how old you are but if born after 1955 it will be delayed until you are 65 or even more. And now Cameron has moved goalposts for number of years for full entitlement from 30 to 35. You haven't got those years but will be pro-rata

Thank you very much for all of your advice.

The latter will be my case too!

Thank you Doreen; the task will be finding it!!

I was told by the UK and French pensions that there is no connection between the two.I applied to Newcastle for the English part when I was 60 and the french one when I was 65.

They normally give you an estimate a few months before your retirement date. It could be the basic plus some income on any further contributions you made. But please also note that there is about to be a revision and that may affect you, depending on your retirement date. I belive you can defer if you wish (not many do!). I believe that the new basic pension for future but not past retirees may be £146 per week. Some people are also eligible for the winter fuel payment depending when they left the UK. The UK government had previosly refused but lost a case on that and now has to pay more people. I got one this year and they were obliged to back pay me too- so that was a bonus. It doesn't come automatically and you have to fight for it! Good luck!

When you come to claim your pension the rules say that you have to apply through the French system. You can get a forecast direct from the UK at any time - but it obviously wont take account of your French entitlement unless you work in the UK again.

By the way, one minute less than 18 years and they will offer you the choice of 'paying them back' (cough, cough) to receive the full minimum or getting a derisory amount. The latter is my case.