BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
I know it’s only a few weeks ago since I wrote about the changes in the UK pension rules but due to the amount of interest it has garnered I think it appropriate to signal the closing date once again. I have had quite several calls with some subsequent happy people.
As I stated before, if your previously worked in the UK there’s a probability that you are entitled to a UK pension. This pension is £185.15 a week and if you have paid national insurance contributions you may be able to claim the UK pension when you reach 66. The amount of UK pension you are entitled to is linked to your national insurance record and as you are now living in Ireland you most likely will have breaks in your record.
Currently you can, if you are eligible, and wish to buy back years to be added to you national insurance record up to the April 5, 2023. You can make payments for the missing years from 2006 but after the April deadline you will only be able to go back six years.
As previously stated to buy back one full year’s national insurance will cost you £824. This ‘investment’ will add £275 a year to your pension. If you buy back the years and reach 66, then live a further three years you would get your money back and every year after that would be a profit. If you live to 80, the Irish male life expectancy, the investment return would equal 6.9% on the investment and for a female, who lives to the female life expectancy age of 84, the return increases to 7.6%.
There may have been times that you were not working. Not to worry, there are other ways you may qualify. If you were, for example, unemployed, ill, a parent or carer, you may have paid voluntary national insurance contributions. If you paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions you may also qualify for national insurance credits.
Where do you start? Make that call quickly because since the last article most calls were “I’ve lost my national insurance number” and “Where do I get my national insurance number”. I have said that you need to go to the online calculator at gov.uk/check-state-pension or complete the BR19 application that can be downloaded from the website and return it by post.
One problem is you really do need your national insurance number. You cannot progress your query or application without it. If you have forgotten it all is not lost, but time is of the essence.
You will need to call 0044 191 203 7010. This department will help you to get your number. You will need the usual date of birth and your current address. Then the following details for the time you lived there – your UK address, the job/company you worked for, approximate dates you worked in the UK. If you married in the UK the date of your marriage.
When the department collates this information they can give you your number, but they will not give it to you over the phone only in writing to your home address. It will take approximately 15 days for this letter to arrive.
When you call the number be prepared to wait to get through. At the time of writing I placed a call for a client and after 1 hour and 17 minutes the called was answered. When we did get through the person at the end of the phone was very helpful, updated the client’s record and confirmed the number was retrieved and would be sent out by post.
Again, a long wait – over 45 minutes for another client who had most of his details and his national insurance number, but was informed the pension forecast would be sent out the next day by post.
Again remember the rules will change on April 5 so act fast to make sure you’re getting your maximum UK entitlements. The clock is ticking.