Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Human rights blow to pensioners

Expats not entitled to pension rises court rules

Elderly Couple

Releasing equity can free up much-needed cash

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).

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what’s going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.

Back to top