Volunteers with British Pensions in Australia (BPiA) help people track down their UK pension entitlements and negotiate the often tortuous process of claiming them.
The not-for-profit group was originally formed in 2003 to challenge the British government’s ‘frozen pension policy’, which stalls the pension paid to expats - most of whom are retired and living in 48 of 53 Commonwealth countries including Australia - at the rate at which it is first received when resident in these countries.
Now, as part of the International Consortium of British Pensioners, they’re challenging the UK government to index the pensions it pays to all expats, with hopes that Brexit will bring new opportunities to challenge the status quo.
It’s not only expats who can claim a British pension. All people who worked in the UK can claim one if they have accumulated 10 or more years of National Insurance contributions. It may also be possible, depending on your date of birth, to make up missing contributions by making voluntary lump sum payments.
Through their work, BPiA supports expats to access all their entitlements, including the lesser-known benefit of a ‘Category B’ UK age pension claimable by ‘dependent’ wives (born before April 6 1953) of male recipients (born before April 6 1951) of the British age pension.
Once a man receives a UK ‘Category A’ age pension it’s possible his dependent wife may also qualify for a ‘Category B’ pension if this spouse’s pension amounts to approximately 60% of the male’s age pension.
The process varies slightly depending upon whether the ‘dependent’ wife is below or has achieved pension age, regardless of their nationality, or whether they have ever worked in or visited the UK.
Moreover, if the husband pre-deceases his wife she will cease the lower pension and inherit his for the rest of her life.
BPiA’s membership subscriptions help fund their international challenge, being waged in the UK.
To find out more about how you can support BPiA’s work, or to receive their help with understanding and accessing your UK pension entitlements, visit their website.
You can also email email@example.com or call 1300 308 353.
To access more helpful articles and resources like the above (including information on retirement income streams), check out the Financial Literacy Service section of our website.