Transfer payments from UK to French state pension?
I live and work in France. In light of Brexit, can I transfer payments from my UK state pension to my French state pension? B.R.
If you are asking if your UK state pension consists of a “pot” you can transfer to increase your French pension and thus avoid currency fluctuations, this is not the case.
Your state pension is a right to regular payments from the UK government based on your National Insurance contributions.
An exception is people who reached state pension age before April 2016 and deferred taking their pension, who can opt to take part as a lump sum.
There is more flexibility with some private or work pensions that could be transferred into a scheme outside the UK, though not into your French state pension.
One option is the Rops – Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme – but there are none in France. Some financial firms advise an “international SIPP” as an alternative.
Some consultants may offer to amalgamate all your UK and French pensions into one sum that is paid to you in euros in France, but in the case of the UK state pension, this does not remove conversion problems and the option is unreliable, not advantageous and rarely done.
You may be thinking of EU pension aggregation, a system for people who have paid into several EU countries’ pension systems, under which each country pays its pension separately. Its aim is to take into account your whole “EU career” to avoid penalties for a short career.
It pays you pro rata for the time spent paying into a country’s system.
When you reach pension age, you apply in the country where you live or last worked.
It processes your claim and brings together records of your contributions from all the countries involved. It is advised to make preparations at least six months before pension age.
In a Brexit with a deal, aggregation would continue between the UK and France for Britons living in France before the end of the transition period.
In a no-deal, it would end but France would recognise UK payment periods made up to six months after Brexit and the UK would recognise periods in the EU before Brexit.
It could continue if there is a UK/France treaty signed on this.
Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald
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