Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Immigration Corner | I want my UK pension in Ja

Published:Tuesday | April 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am nearing the age where I will be able to claim my pension in the United Kingdom. I am aware that some people who have lived in the United Kingdom receive their pension in Jamaica. I am thinking of retiring in Jamaica so I would like to know how this works.

- G.M.


Dear GM,

Persons can claim their United Kingdom pension outside of the United Kingdom if they have paid enough national insurance contributions to qualify. Persons should apply for a pension statement if they need to find out how much pension they are eligible for.

In order to make a claim, persons must be within four months of their pension age. To claim a pension, they can either contact the International Pension Centre and/or send the international claim form to the International Pension Centre. The address is on the form.

If a person lives part of the year abroad he/she must choose which country he/she would want their pension to be paid. A person cannot be paid in one country for part of the year and another for the rest of the year.

With respect to the bank accounts, the State pension can be paid into: a bank in the country where the person resides; a bank or building society in the United Kingdom.

Persons can use: an account in their name; a joint account; someone else's account if they have permission and keep to the terms and conditions of the account. Persons will need the international bank account number (IBAN) and bank identification code (BIC) numbers if they have an overseas account. The funds sent will be paid in local currency and the amount received may change due to exchange rates. Persons have the option to choose to be paid every four or 13 weeks. If the State pension is under PS5 per week, persons will be paid once a year, in December.

It should be noted that a person's State pension will only increase each year if he/she lives in: the European Economic Area (EEA); Switzerland; countries that have a social security agreement with the United Kingdom. Persons will not get yearly increases if they live outside these countries and their pension will go up to the current rate if they return to live in the United Kingdom. However, persons will not get increases in Canada or New Zealand.

Please note that how much tax might be paid and where it needs to be paid will depend on where a person is considering taken up residency.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.).