The Department for Work & Pensions releases guidance relating to the State Pension for individuals living in the EEA or Switzerland post-Brexit

28 January 2020

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has published guidance relating to the rights of UK nationals living in the EEA and Switzerland to benefits and pensions after the UK has left the EU.

The UK is set to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, and The Withdrawal Agreement presents the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and includes provisions for a transitional period up until 31 December 2020 in which no changes will take place. In this time, there will be no difference to the rules on claiming UK benefits and State Pension in the EEA or Switzerland.

Guidance relating to the State Pension for those living in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020

The guidance asserts that individuals moving or retiring abroad prior to, or on 31 December 2020 (within the transition period) will need to notify the relevant government office of this. They will still be able to receive a UK State Pension if they live in the EEA or Switzerland, and it can still be claimed from these countries. DWP has confirmed that the UK State Pension for these people will continue to be uprated each year for as long as they continue to live there, and this will happen even if the individual starts claiming their pension or on after 1 January 2021, subject to the standard qualifying conditions. This means that they will continue to receive increases under ‘triple lock’ rules.  

Whilst working in the EEA or Switzerland, individuals can count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for their UK State Pension.

Guidance relating to the State Pension for those moving to an EEA State or Switzerland from 1 January 2021

For individuals who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who move to live in an EEA state or Switzerland from 1 January 2021 onwards, the guidance is not as straight forward. The outcome of negotiations with the EU may result in direct changes to the rules surrounding entitlement to UK benefits within those countries, which could directly impact on whether future social security contributions in the EEA and Switzerland count towards the UK State Pension. Future discussions and agreements may also affect whether the UK State Pension is updated every year for individuals living in the EEA and Switzerland who moved there from 1 January 2021 onwards.

Individuals will, however, continue to receive the UK State Pension in the EEA or Switzerland, subject to the standard qualifying conditions. Any social security contributions made in an EEA state or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 can be used to help individuals qualify for a UK State Pension but there is no definitive answer in relation to contributions made after that point as yet.

Moving to Ireland from 1 January 2021

Individuals who move to Ireland, and are UK or Irish nationals, will continue to get their UK State Pension uprated each year.

 


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