The UK provides a state pension for everyone who has contributed to National Insurance for a certain period, and if you are a UK citizen, you would certainly be aware of this fact. But if you have been working as an expat for a good number of years and are on the verge of retiring (and thinking of continuing to live overseas), or if you are already a retiree who would like to live abroad, you may be wondering how you can easily receive your UK state pension. The good news is, it’s not that difficult, as long as you know the process and know what to do to get it. Here, then, are some of the most essential details on getting your UK pension if you are an expat or retire abroad.
The details of your pension
Of course, you can only receive your UK state pension if you have made enough contributions to National Insurance. You can find out how much pension you will receive if you request a statement of your state pension, and this statement will also tell you when you can receive the pension as well as how you can increase it if possible. If you will reach the age for a state pension in more than a month, you can contact the Future Pension centre to ask for your statement as well. In addition, you can fill in a BR19 form online and send the form by post; you should be able to receive your statement in about ten business days.
Making a pension claim
Once you know the amount of pension you will be receiving and have the other details associated with it, then you can make your pension claim at the appropriate time. The proper time to get your pension is within four months of your pension age, and in order to claim your UK pension, you have two options: you can get in touch with the International Pension Centre by email or through Twitter, you can contact them by telephone, or you can contact them by post. Your second option is to send an international pension claim form to the Centre by post. The claim form is available online as well.
More important info on claiming your pension whilst abroad
The first aspect you have to remember when claiming your pension whilst abroad is choosing the country where you want your pension paid. Under the current rules, you can’t choose to be paid in one particular country for part of the year and then another country for the rest of it – you should choose in which country to receive your pension for the entire year, even if you don’t reside in that country throughout the year.
You can opt to have the pension paid to a bank account abroad (in the country where you are residing) or in a building society or bank in the UK. You can also make use of your own bank account or a joint account, or you can choose to have it paid to another person’s account, as long as you have attained their permission. To have your pension sent to a bank abroad, you need the IBAN (international bank account number) and the BIC (bank identification code) of the bank. The payment will then come in the local currency, and the amount may vary depending on the exchange rate of the country.
You can either opt to get paid once every 13 weeks or once every four weeks and if your state pension is lower than £5 a week, you will get paid annually, in December.
Of course, if you are an expat or are retiring abroad, you may want to capitalise on your assets and get a private pension, which is definitely a good investment. Various private pensions for expats abound – but be careful of your investment as well; it pays to do the right research and get the best possible deal from a reputable source.