UK State Pension: Paid here or in UK?


I searched the site, & there are a couple of threads on this subject, but I feel that for the sake of everybody, it is worth resurrecting it:

If there is not a clear answer/solution, I will post anything that I discover.

In the meantime, here goes!

I will shortly be 65. I have worked here as a micro-entrepreneur for the last 16 years.

With UK pensions Although I have been paying voluntary contributions for the last few years, I still fall just short of receiving the full state pension, but I will receive the added SERPS (Supplement paid when earning more).

What the forum doesn’t answer so far is:

“Is it better to claim the UK pension from England, & the French one here, or do as the pensions office suggest & amalgamate them?”

I am concerned that if I lay my cards on the table with, I presume, in my case, RSI (Regime, Social Independents), I will have my options made for me.

Have any of you had experience of this?

Your advice would be gratefully received


An interesting one, Peter, that, I think, only affects a few of us here and I wish I knew the answer too. I'll have a full UK state pension in 15+ years time as, like you, I pay volontary contributions. I've worked in France for over 10 years and have another 15 to do. I've been with different caisse - cpam, rsi and ragdtv - in different work set-ups. I have just started a private pension with the maaf too. I have heard of a pooling situation but hae calculated on getting differing amounts from each caisse. Not sure how a possible brexit would affect the situation either!

Will follow this thread with interest ;-)

Hi Andrew/
Thanks. - Hoping for an older & wiser individual to enlighten us.

I havn't taken any pension yet but i have twenty years of Uk contributions and twenty years of French contributions so I am in a similar position. Combining, so having a pension in Euros means you escape the vagaries of currency fluctuation (sometimes you win sometimes you lose) but having a pension in two currencies can also be advantageous..I would like to hear the pros and cons from people who have actual experienced this situation


I worked in the NHS about 25 years and then in France about 15 years. I have 5 pensions: UK NHS; UK state; French regime de base; Arrco and Agirc. I retired about 3 years. On the advice of a UK state pension employee I applied directly to UK for the state pesnion (and the NHS pension, of course) because they said the French were too slow. Its certainly true that the UK are very reactive and rapid and require little in the way of documentation, whereas collecting the French pensions tales an age and requires lots of documents. My husband who retired last year also had similar experiences. THey aech know about the other because there is space to declare the other countries pensions on both sets of forms and filling in the déclaration de revenue requires each type of pension to go in different boxes!

Hope this helps


PS just to reiterate - the UK pensions people answer the phone rapidly and are very helpful

It's a bit confusing, I have worked in France for thirteen years 1990 to 2013 and the rest of my working life in the UK. As I am coming up to retirement, I was advised to fill in a form from the British DHS as they will forward it onto France and they will pay me my "French" pension I now have to claim my UK pension here. I am told I can claim my UK pension just two months before my 65 birthday.

According to EU Regulations (can't quote the ref) you must apply for your pension in the last EU state in which you worked. I worked 38 years in UK followed by 3 years in Brussels and then retired to France. I applied to Belgium who contacted the UK and my pension is now paid both by UK for their bit and Belgium for theirs. I get the regular uprating from both. This came from the Maastricht treaty I think. The interesting thing was that Belgium sent me a breakdown of all my contributions both in UK and Belgium

I do not fall into this situation at all but my strong advice, is do not never, ever consolidate anything to do with money. You do not know what might change in the future, say for example you wish to return to the UK cos your partner has died and all your pension income is now in France.

I am sure it can be unscrambled but that takes time and in the interim your income is in the wrong country.

In my experience retaining fiscal links to the UK, banks, credit cards, investments, etc, is a very essential back up if things go pear shaped at any time.

You can choose where your pension is paid - here, UK or Panama if you so wish. You have to apply to the EU state in which you last worked but the pensions from different states are paid separately.

This from the EU web site:

State pensions abroad

Old-age pensions

Applying for pensions

If you've worked in several EU countries, you may have accumulated pension rights in each of them.

You'll have to apply to the pension authority in the country where you're living or you last worked. If you've never worked in the country where you're living, your host country will forward your claim to the one you last worked in.

That country is then responsible for processing your claim and bringing together records of your contributions from all the countries you worked in.

In some countries, the pension authority should send you your pension application form before you reach that country's retirement age. If you don't receive it, check with your pension authority to see whether they will automatically send it to you.

NB You should ask for information on obtaining your pension at least 6 months before you retire because drawing a pension from several countries can be a long procedure.

Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems.

Strange that the EU ruling is not mentioned on the UK Gov website where it clearly states,"You’ll have to claim your pension in each country". Nothing about claiming from the last country you worked in.

It's no wonder people are being confused by the continual pensions revisions.

But my understanding is that if one applies via France ( in my case RSI - ugh ! ) then both the pensions would be subject to Social Charges at 7.5%. whereas if one can afford to "ignore" the french pension which in my case would be pretty small and apply direct via the UK, then the UK state pension would NOT be subject to the 7.5% social charges.

Can anyone confirm that ?

As far as I am aware Pensions are not subject to CSG - mine certainly aren't nor my wife's - we both have 2 pensions.

When my husband received his pension application forms last year, the instructions told him to return them to the country in which he had last worked. As he had retired from work when he left UK , we returned them there but obviously if he had been working in France he would have sent them to his local office here. The forms explained that this is so the pensions can be linked together. Unfortunately I can't tell you if that would work as his pension was straightforward but I do know his UK pension appeared in the bank exactly as we expected it, without probems and any further paperwork.

Slightly off topic, but if anyone knows anything about this please share. I worked most of my life in the US but have been living full time in France since 2005 so pay file and pay taxes here too. (US citizens have to file and pay taxes in the US no matter where they live and work.) I have to pay into a retirement fund here, but have been told I will never get anything back for it, but that I will get a slightly higher US social security payment as the retirement plans are linked. This so?

Indeed, I think it's in the EU country where you live that you apply. Then that country will copy your application to the countries that you have specified as where you have worked. Then each country independently decides what you are due, and then pays it independently to the bank account you specify.