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State pension: ‘Destitute’ expats unable to return to UK attributable to ‘cost’ | Personal Finance | Finance

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Annually, an estimated 500,000 pensioners miss out on seeing their state pension rise. That is by virtue of where they’ve chosen to live, as state pension increases will not be guaranteed.

The state pension only rises in the next places:

  • The UK
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Gibraltar
  • Switzerland
  • Countries with a social security agreement with the UK (but not Canada or Recent Zealand).

Expats in other areas will see their state pension frozen at the extent it was after they decided to depart an eligible nation. 

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Sheila Telford, director of the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), argued many expats are facing a financial plight attributable to their pension being frozen.

Ms Telford argued against a typical talking point, which suggests affected expats should return to the UK to see their state pension boosted.

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“Nevertheless it would all be at enormous cost to the taxpayer.”

Ian Andexser, also a director of the ICBP, argued the present pension system is ineffective in the case of coping with the affairs of frozen pensioners. 

He highlighted a “weird anomaly” which the group themselves were facing first-hand on their visit to the UK.

Mr Andexser continued: “We’re here for 10 days, and may claim our rightful pension.

“We’ve to contact the DWP, tell them we’re here, and the ‘unfrozen’ part is uprated for a period of 10 days or two weeks.

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“There’s a whole department of civil servants coping with people like us. What a waste of cash!”

The notion of a frozen pension is a long-standing policy, which the Government states it has no plans to alter. 

Nevertheless, a lot of those impacted by a frozen pension take issue with this notion.

Former chairman of the ICBP, John Duffy, added: “If it’s a legitimate argument that it’s a historic policy and it may well’t be modified – why would anything change, ever?

“In some countries, you’ve got to have a level of income to live there.

“You may have gone there with that level of income, but because a pension hasn’t gone up with inflation, you drop below the minimum level.

“That puts you in danger. We all know of 1 one who needed to sell her house in Mexico consequently, and leave the country.”

The Department for Work and Pensions explains it understands people move abroad for various reasons, and this may impact their funds.

A spokesperson added: “There may be information on GOV.UK about what the effect of going abroad might be on entitlement to the UK state pension.

“The Government’s policy on the uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding considered one of greater than 70 years and we proceed to uprate state pensions overseas where there’s a legal requirement to achieve this.”

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