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Half a million expats miss out on triple-lock pensions

More than 500,000 recipients of the UK state pension living abroad do not benefit from the triple-lock, the Department for Work and Pensions has said.

The triple lock, introduced by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government, increases the state pension payments each year by the highest of average earnings, CPI inflation or 2.5 per cent.

The policy on uprating UK state pensions for overseas residents is that the annual index-linked increases are paid outside the UK only where there is a legal requirement to do so.

Examples of this are where state pension recipients are living within the European Economic Area or where there is a reciprocal agreement between the UK and a host country that also provides for uprating of the state pension.

The majority of those affected by the freeze live in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Uprating state pensions for these people would cost the government £3bn over the next five-years, the DWP says in figures published today.

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby says: “Over half a million people are understandably furious that, having paid into the system and retired abroad, they find their state pensions frozen.

“Over the course of someone’s retirement this could have a huge impact, potentially costing more than £50,000 in state pension income. For many this might be the difference between living comfortably and struggling to make ends meet.

“Unfortunately for those affected there is no sign of a reprieve, with successive governments rejecting calls to rethink the policy and preferring instead to focus resources on those who choose to remain in the UK.”

There have been calls in the past for the triple lock to be abolished as some argue it increases intergenerational unfairness.



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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. What would be the objection to paying these expats a State Pension increase based on the lower of the inflation rate in the country to which they have emigrated, and that in the UK? Seems fair to all parties…..

    • Andy Robertson-Fox 14th February 2019 at 4:14 pm

      There are over 120 countries that are frozen so logistically probably not feasable but why should a pensioner in say frozen Canada be paid any less than a pensioner in the unfrozen USA? Where one lives should not be in the equation.

  2. Andy Robertson-Fox 14th February 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Oh, wow! That would make a big hole in the 23 billion currently surplus in the NI Fund….more lame excuses and no real justification for this discrimination.

  3. Of course the Government are going to highlight the savings, and of course £3Billion is a massive figure to 95% of us. But when it’s compared to the Social Security budget for the same length of time, it’s a drop in the ocean.
    Ask yourselves – when does the government ever give you THAT gigantic figure?
    Ask yourselves too – WHY is the government is now emphasizing the £600M cost? It wouldn’t be to add to the possibility of freezing all UK expat pensioners in Europe would it, and therefore make it taste more palatable – would it?

  4. And that is just 0.3% of the pensions budget, which as we know is OUR money not government money it is there to pay everyone who has contributed to the NI fund. It is not the governments job to pick and choose who gets annual uprating EVERYONE who gets a state pension has paid for it under the same terms therefore EVERYONE is entitled to be paid under the same terms. The government has no right to withhold any money from 4% of seniors because where one lives once retired is irrelevant. Private pension providers would not be allowed to get away with doing this so why should the government?

  5. This whole fiasco is unwarranted fraud if you check on how it is implemented and there is no justification for such a punitive policy because they have the National Insurance Fund there to cater for the pensions which is ring-fenced or should be although there have been occasions when the treasury it seems found it fit to dip in their hands for the National debt.
    Now you could say ok if that were a real necessity but remember who paid into the Fund in the past through taxation to boost the fund when the expenses for pensions demanded it – yes the frozen pensioners did and with today’s situation there is no valid reason why the fund in surplus as it is should not pay these pensioners when the expected growth of the cash into the fund will rise considerably we are told to increase this surplus even more by 2020 and continue to increase ? Their forecast !

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