State pension rules set to change in days’ time – will you be affected?
Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes
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State pension payments are vital to many, hence why it is important for certain Britons to make note of changes in the New Year. The Government is planning to make vital alterations to the sum, and this will relate to how payments are calculated for those who move abroad. The changes are likely to be relevant for thousands of people who have decided to become expats.
They are a direct result of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), commonly known as Brexit.
Guidance issued on the Government’s official website has offered further insight into the implications.
The changes to the way in which the state pension is calculated will change for individuals who move to live in, or move between an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
They will apply if the person has previously lived in:
- Australia, before March 1, 2001
- New Zealand
From January 1, 2022 onwards, a person will no longer be able to count periods living in Australia (before March 1, 2001), Canada or New Zealand towards calculating their UK state pension if the following circumstances apply:
- A person is a UK national, EU or EEA citizen, or Swiss national
- A person moves to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland on or after January 1, 2022, including if they move to live in another EU, EEA country or Switzerland on or after January 1, 2022
The change is set to impact those over the age of 66, as well as individuals who have not reached state pension age.
The Government website explains: “The change will affect you whether or not you have claimed your UK state pension yet.
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“Your UK state pension will be calculated, or recalculated if already in payment, using only your UK National Insurance record.”
There are, however, certain individuals who will be able to breathe a sigh of relief with regard to the changes.
This is because they do not impact everyone, and the Government has also laid these details out.
Primarily, individuals who live in the UK regardless of their nationality won’t have to worry about the rules.
The changes also do not impact UK nationals, EU or EEA citizens or Swiss nationals who live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by December 31, 2021.
As long as a person continues to live in the same country, they can count time spent living in Australia (before March 1, 2001), Canada or New Zealand towards their UK state pension.
Expats living in the EU or an EEA country, or Switzerland can still expect their state pension to increase each year in line with the triple lock.
This is not the case for those living outside these countries, or outside of Gibraltar.
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Countries with a social security agreement with the UK can also usually get increases, but there are exceptions to the rule.
In Canada and New Zealand, these annual increases are not permitted.
For those unsure about what retiring abroad will mean for them, there is guidance available.
Britons are urged to contact the International Pension Centre which will be able to provide further details to people who are already retired and thinking about moving abroad.
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