Why did French pension body ask about UK National Insurance record?

A reader asks if there is any link between the British and French pension systems and if it is possible to claim state pensions from both countries

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Reader question: I moved to France in 2003 after working for 17 years in the UK. I worked for 12 years in France. I have paid Class 2 National Insurance to top up my UK pension.

When I left work in France, I was asked to provide a form from the UK with details of my N.I. payments so it could be taken into account for my French pension.

Why does the French system need this? I thought a French pension would be based on my payments here. Will I be able to claim both pensions?

You will be able to claim from both countries.

The French pension body needs to know about UK N.I. payments due to the pension ‘aggregation’ system that applies to EU pensions and also to UK ones due to the Brexit deals.

This means the UK and France can take account of contributions into the other’s pension system to avoid penalties that might otherwise apply in the case of insufficient contributions.

In the UK, it can help make sure you are entitled to a pension, even if you have paid in for fewer years than the usual minimum of 10 years.

In France, it can help avoid, or reduce, a lowering (décote) that is applied to your French pension calculation if you have not paid in for the usual standard amount of years (currently around 42).

Your French pension will still be proportional to the years paid in, but it will not be subject to an additional penalty – or rather, in your case, the penalty will be lessened.

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