Are You Entitled to a UK State Pension?

Are You Entitled to a UK State Pension?

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Anyone who has worked for 3+ years in the UK is entitled to a UK state pension

Of critical consideration, because the rules are changing in April 2023.

Many Irish residents will have worked in the UK for a time. Everyone (regardless of your age) with a UK National Insurance number and more than 3 years national insurance contributions is entitled to a UK State Pension.

You should check your UK state pension record as you may be entitled to improve your UK State Pension.

If you are now living in Ireland, its highly likely that you will not receive the full UK State Pension amount but you should be entitled to receive something. The good news is that it’s possible to receive BOTH a UK State Pension and an Irish State Pension.

Topping Up Your UK State Pension

It’s also possible to top up the UK State Pension as far back as 2006, but time is running out.

The cost of doing this is effectively subsidised by the UK Government which means it can be very good value for money.

The amount of State Pension you will receive is based on your record of National Insurance contributions (NICs). If you haven’t made enough contributions, then you won’t get a full State Pension, but you may be able to pay voluntary contributions to boost the amount you get, even if you’ve already retired.

The rules about who can top up, how much it costs and what impact it will have on your State Pension are complex and have changed recently with the introduction of the new State Pension system in April 2016 and the rules will be changing again in April 2023.

You can top your NICs by paying voluntary national insurance contributions for missing years. Many people who worked in the UK up until moving to Ireland, and moved to Ireland to work, will be assessed for Class 2 voluntary insurance payments at a reduced rate of (£163.80 per year (tax year 2022/23). Otherwise, you may be assessed for Class 3 voluntary contributions £824.20 pa (tax year 2022/23)

But this is changing next April with a cap of 6 years coming into effect.

If you or anyone you know has worked in the UK, go to Check your State Pension forecast to establish if there are any gaps in your National Insurance Record.

Applying online is the quickest way to get a forecast.

You can also:

  • fill in the BR19 application form and send it by post
  • call the Future Pension Centre who will post the forecast to you

Paying voluntary NICs while you’re abroad

You may be able to pay Class 2 NICs to help you qualify for contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance when you get back to the UK, as well as State Pension, Maternity Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment (bereavement benefits before 6 April 2017).

You can pay Class 2 NICs if you’re employed or self-employed abroad and if you satisfy the following conditions:

  1. You’ve lived in the UK for a continuous 3-year period at any time before the period for which NICs are to be paid, or
  2. Before going abroad, you paid a set amount in NICs for 3 years or more (this will be checked when you ask to pay Class 2 NICs), and
  3. In addition to conditions 1 and 2, you must also, immediately before going abroad, have been ordinarily an employed or self-employed earner in the UK.

If you’ve lived and worked in an EEA country or in Turkey, time spent there may help you to meet this condition.

You cannot pay Class 2 NICs for any period during which you’re liable to pay Class 1 NICs.

In return for making voluntary contributions, you could boost your UK State Pension up to the maximum of £185.15 per week (£9,627.8 pa).

Putting this into perspective, in order to generate that income (which can be inherited by a spouse or civil partner) and which has some inflation protection, a 68 year old man today would need to invest something like €360,000 into an annuity.

You can obtain further information from the International Pension Centre International Pension Centre – GOV.UK


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