One of the first things that many expat pensioners will worry about will be the reduction in the value of the British pound against the Australian dollar.
On September 23, the pound fell like a rock to $1.65 following the UK mini budget.
Those of you on an Australian pension can claim an additional 50¢ in dollars for each UK payment reduction, so that’s not totally bad news.
The latest serious blunder in UK pensions is that many people are not receiving their full pension entitlements because the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has not included years of caring responsibilities in the number of pensions. years qualifying for a UK state pension.
Some people – mainly mothers – did not benefit from this protection because of problems with the transmission of data from the child benefit computer to the national insurance computer. The DWP carried out a remediation exercise more than a decade ago which identified around 36,000 parents who had wrongfully defaulted and it paid over £85m in arrears of state pension, as well as an increase in weekly state pensions for those affected by an average of £10 per week. Now DWP thinks more people could be out.
So what can someone in Australia who thinks they may have missed something?
The important criterion is that a person must have received child benefit (before 2010 called HRP) in his own name for a child under 16 (for the whole year) and not have paid a married woman stamp ( or reduced).
Check your national insurance record. You can call the National Insurance Contributions Helpline which from Australia is 00 11 44 191 203 7010 and ask to be put through to ‘Insurance File or Payments national”. You will need your national insurance number and you will be asked a few security questions.
They can mail you a copy of your complete file so that you can check whether the years in which you claimed Child Benefit are included as full contribution years.
If you are missing years you can complete a simple form which can be downloaded or completed on the computer with your child or children’s details and if you are eligible the UK Government must update your record .
If a child benefit record is missing from your NI file because it was in the name and case of your husband or partner and he does not need child benefit because he was working and paying NI, you may be able to have it transferred to you, provided you have reached UK statutory retirement age and were born after 5 April 1948.
NB if you are calling from the UK the office opens at 3pm WA and after 29th October at 4pm.
Am I of retirement age in the UK?
British expats and Australian citizens born between October 6, 1954 and April 5, 1960, who have worked for at least 10 years in the UK, will be eligible for their UK state pensions from their 66th birthday.
The age eligible for those born after April 6, 1960 will increase by an additional month for each additional month of birth until March 6, 1961, when it will become their 67th birthday. This is now under review by the UK government due next year.
Anyone wishing to discuss their options on all aspects of their UK state pensions should contact Mike Goodall
on 0403 909 865 or email [email protected]