Your Guide to the UK State Pension: Eligibility, Claims, Getting Your Pension Abroad, and More


If you have been working for a while and are set to retire soon, or if you are a retiree and you would like to reside in another country, it pays to know all you can about your state pension and your eligibility, and how you can receive it whilst abroad. The state pension is something given to individuals who have made enough contributions to National Insurance in the course of their career or profession, and it will help you tremendously if you know what to expect from it. The following is your guide to the UK state pension: eligibility, claims and getting your pension abroad.

  • Eligibility and amounts

You should already be able to receive your pension if you are a male born after or on the 6th of April, 1951, and if you are a female born after or on the 6th of April, 1953. To be eligible for the pension, you need at least ten years of contributions to National Insurance, but they don’t have to be ten years in a row. You could also get your pension if you were receiving NI credits (if you were ill, a carer, a parent, or unemployed) and if you paid NI voluntarily as a self-employed individual. If you are living and working overseas, you could benefit from both a UK pension and a pension in the country where you are working as long as you contribute to the country’s pension scheme.

The state pension is currently £168.60 every week, but the amount you should get will be based on your NI record. You may get a higher amount if you have more than a particular amount of additional pension or if you delay getting your state pension. You will still be able to get your state pension even if you have a personal pension (such as special pensions for expats) or a pension scheme in your workplace.

  • Claiming your pension

The state pension isn’t given automatically; you will have to make preparations to claim it. You should receive a letter around two months prior to reaching the pension age, and this will give you instructions on what it is you should do. But even if you don’t get the letter, you can easily make a claim online, over the telephone, or by downloading the pension claim form and then sending the form to your local area’s pension centre. If you are abroad, you should get in touch with the International Pension Centre regarding the details of how you can claim your pension. Essentially speaking, you can get paid every month into a bank account of your choosing, whether abroad or in the UK.

  • When you will receive it

Once you have made a claim, you will receive a letter regarding your pension payments. You will receive your first pension payment within five weeks of your eligibility based on your age, and you will get full payments every four weeks afterwards. The actual day when you will receive your pension will also depend on your NI number. For instance, if the last two digits of your NI number are 00 – 19, you would get paid on a Monday. If it is 20 – 39, you would get paid on a Tuesday, and so on. You might receive an earlier payment if the normal day for payment falls on a bank holiday.

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