State pension impacted for thousands as National Insurance rules change

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Securing the state pension means Britons must have built up enough National Insurance contributions during their lifetime. To get anything at all, individuals usually need at least 10 qualifying years of contributions. But for those hopeful of the full new state pension sum, some 35 years of contributions will be necessary.

The Government website adds: “You may get less than the new full state pension if you were contracted out before April 6, 2016.”

In 2021, those living in particular Commonwealth countries could count the time they spent abroad as part of their qualification for the state pension.

However, new rules came into force on January 1, 2022, which could now impact these individuals.

It could negatively disadvantage British expats who have spent time overseas.

The rule change has been brought into force due to the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Now, Britons will no longer be able to count periods living in Australia (before March 1, 2001), Canada or New Zealand towards their state pension in the following circumstances:

  • If a person is a UK national, EU or EEA citizen or Swiss national
  • If a person moves to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland on or after January 1 2022, including if you move to live in another EU, EEA country or Switzerland on or after January 1, 2022

The change is to affect individuals whether or not they have claimed their state pension sum yet.

Britons should be aware their UK state pension will be calculated using their UK National Insurance record.

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If it is already being paid, then individuals can expect the sum to be recalculated, the Government has confirmed. 

Time which is spent by British expats in most non-Commonwealth countries already doesn’t count towards state pensions.

The new rules mean the aforementioned Commonwealth countries have been brought in line with this other legislation.

The new rules will not impact those who live in the UK, whatever their nationality.

Changes will also not apply to UK nationals, EU or EEA citizens or Swiss nationals who were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by December 31, 2021.

The Government website adds: “As long as you continue to live in the same country, you will still be able to count time living in Australia (before March 1 2001), Canada or New Zealand to calculate your UK state pension.”

The full new state pension sum currently stands at £179.60 for those eligible.

The only reasons the amount can be higher is if a person delays taking their sum, or they have over a certain amount of Additional state pension.

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If a person is keen to understand more about their sum, they can get a state pension forecast.

This will tell them how much they could get, and indeed when they could receive it.

The service is available on the Government’s website, however cannot be used by those who are already getting their sum, or who have delayed doing so.

These individuals can contact the Pension Centre if living in the UK, or the International Pension Centre if living abroad.

If a person does not wish to apply online, they can fill in the BR19 application for and send it online.

Alternatively, they may wish to call the Future Pension Centre who will post the forecast out. 

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