Questions & Answers

Can I claim a UK state pension at the same time as claiming a state pension in another European Union country?

Yes. This is the most common question people pose and it is amazing that the possibility of receiving two pensions has not come across more clearly.

Am I eligible for a UK state pension?

Legally, any person ever having been resident in the UK and having contributed to the UK National Insurance system is eligible for a UK state pension, irrespective of his or her nationality.

What is the current amount of a UK state pension?

A single person's annual pension is currently at a little under £6,000 and a married couple's pension in excess of £9,000 per year.

What is the minimum number of years I need to contribute to obtain a state pension?

The minimum number of years used to be 11, but the provisions of the Pension Act 2007 mean that every year counts as 1/30th towards the pension.

What is the maximum number of years I need to contribute to obtain a full state pension?

The maximum number of years is currently 30 for both men and women.

At what age can I claim my state pension?

For men the pension age is currently 65 years. However for women it is currently being changed and it was originally decided that women's pension age will gradually increase from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. The previous coalition government decided that the pension age for women would be accelerated so that it would reach 65 by the year 2018. This is being achieved by increasing it more quickly to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018. Subsequent to this it has been proposed that with effect from December 2018 the state pension age for both men and women will begin to increase to reach 66 by April 2020. On November 29th 2011 the government announced that the state pension age for both men and women will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

I have not contributed much in the past. Is it still worth my while to catch up?

Yes, although you may consider that you have contributed very little during your years in the UK, it should be borne in mind that with effect from the age of 16 you receive credits while in full time education and also for periods of unemployment. As a general rule people are pleasantly surprised at the number of years contributions they have accumulated upon receiving their pension forecast. It is always worth one's while to catch up as many years contributions as is possible. Normally it is possible to catch up with 6 years.

I am short of cash at the moment and cannot afford 6 years' contributions. What options do I have?

In the worst case you can always pay just one or two of the 6 years that you are eligible to catch up in order to avoid losing the right to contribute in respect of those years. Imagine a train with 6 carriages, each carriage representing a tax year's pension contribution. On April 6th a new carriage appears on the front while the oldest carriage drops off. In order to preserve the contribution in respect of the last year (or oldest carriage) this must be paid first.

Is there any urgency for updating my state pension now rather than later?

The only urgency there is with regard to updating your pension is the fact that on April 6th a new tax year becomes part of the equation and a new year's contribution becomes payable while the last year (as mentioned above) is lost if not paid.

Can the years I have contributed in one EU country help me to enhance my state pension in another EU country?

Yes, if you do not reach the minimum number of years' contributions in any of the countries.

My wife and I have both contributed the same number of years. Do we just apply for a married couple's pension?

No, you both apply for a single person's pension (£6,000 each). Having both contributed the same number of years, the alternative for the wife of claiming 60% of her husband's pension is obviously not as interesting because she is eligible in her own right to the same amount of pension as her husband since she has contributed the same number of years.

My wife is Chinese. Can she claim on my pension?

Yes, she can. As a married man and having paid your contributions, your wife (whatever her origin) can claim 60% of your single person's pension bearing in mind that you should have both reached the age to be eligible for a pension.

My wife is eligible but I am not. Can I claim on her pension?

Yes, with effect from April 6th, 2010 a husband can claim 60% of his wife's single person's pension.

Why would I need your help to update my state pension?

It has to be admitted that, while the Government set payments at extremely attractive rates, they are not always quick at coming forward with the required information. It is always incumbent upon the taxpayer to find out the current state of his or her state pension and while it would not be fair to say that the Government misrepresents or conceals the facts, it is true to say that the information, documentation and paperwork that they make available is extensive and often difficult to understand. It is not easy for the ordinary person to appreciate the important facts and figures among the official jargon set out in these documents. Our aim is to simplify the information that is available and to concentrate on the important points set out in the literature provided by the authorities. We will be available for advice and consultations at all stages of the procedure.

How much will your service cost me?

We charge an amount of €300 to assist you to update your state pension. This includes advice on anything to do with UK state pensions, help on how to fill in the form and advice on the forecast once it is received. For more information on what we offer please see Update Pension.