Topping up UK pension from France
Is it still possible to top up a UK state pension while living in France? I have heard it has changed and will Brexit affect this? P.W.
Yes, it is still possible to make payments to “top up” missing UK pension years while you are living abroad and this is not expected to change after Brexit as the ability to do this is not limited to EU residents.
The point of doing so is to increase the amount of your UK state pension if you have not yet paid in the 35 years for a full pension, or to give a right to some pension if you have paid in fewer than the minimum 10 years (EU pension aggregation rules can help if you have also worked in France, but the benefit of this may be at risk in a no-deal Brexit scenario).
The UK had planned to abolish Class 2 NICs (National Insurance Contributions), which UK state pensioners living abroad can pay to top up pensions if they are working and were paying National Insurance in the UK before moving.
They would have had to move to Class 3 NICs which are paid by non-working people abroad and which cost five times as much.
However, the change would have had an impact on very low-earning self-employed people in the UK, so it was dropped.
You should contact the Future Pension Centre to find out if it is likely to benefit you. See gov.uk/future-pension-centre.
You can check your current state pension entitlement at gov.uk/check-state-pension. You need to set up an account first, which takes around 10 minutes and you need your passport details to hand.
To check your national insurance record, see gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record.
For eligibility and how to pay see: tinyurl.com/ptbzeg8.
Methods include one-off payments by cheque and setting up a direct debit.
Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald
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