Human rights blow to pensionersExpats not entitled to pension rises court rules

16 March 2010

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The Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg today rejected claims by a group of British pensioners for automatic increases to their UK state pension. It ruled that the UK government's longstanding refusal to up-rate pensions received by expats in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand did not violate their human rights. 

Pensions abroad

UK subjects who retire abroad receive a state pension as a result of making National Insurance contributions during their working life. In the 26 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, this is automatically increased each year in line with inflation (RPI) in the same way it is for pensioners in the UK. The same up-rating occurs for expats living in countries with reciprocal social security arrangements, such as the USA, Switzerland, Turkey or Jamaica.

British pensioners in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand receive no increase to their state pension each year, however, and find that it is vulnerable to the impact of inflation. 

Private pensions are not affected by these regulations.

Further information      

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has an International Pension Centre for those living abroad. Guidance can also be obtained from The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).

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